Scottish Premiership ins and outs - summer 2016

Rangers midfielder Joey Barton
Joey Barton has joined Rangers after rejecting a new contract with Burnley

Whether you like the term or not, the Old Firm fixture is back in the Scottish top flight.

Rangers' third promotion in four years brings with it a renewed rivalry with Celtic - and a new sense of anticipation ahead of the Scottish Premiership season.

Despite beating their city rivals in last season's Scottish Cup semi-final, the Ibrox club know they have to up the ante if they are to attempt to compete with the Hoops on a weekly basis and challenge the reigning champions.

The capture of much-admired teenager Jordan Rossiter from Liverpool was a sign of early intent by manager Mark Warburton and the addition of fellow midfielders Joey Barton and Niko Kranjcar has added box-office, if ageing, appeal.

Celtic showed their determination to make it a sixth title in a row by replacing manager Ronny Deila with Brendan Rodgers, with reports suggesting that the former Liverpool manager is now the highest-paid boss in Scottish football history.

The Northern Irishman bided his time before revealing the first part of his Parkhead masterplan, but the arrival of teenage striker Moussa Dembele from Fulham is being viewed as one well worth waiting for.

Rangers manager Mark Warburton and Celtic's Brendan Rodgers
Rangers' Mark Warburton and Celtic's Brendan Rodgers will be in opposition this season

Former Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool centre-back Kolo Toure, followed as Rodgers returned to a tried and trusted face from his time at Anfield.

Elsewhere, Premiership managers are operating at English League One and Two level in terms of budget and quality, while Kilmarnock scouted around the fringes of Premier League and Championship clubs before announcing 11 signings in one day.

The Ayrshire side appear to be in most trouble if League Cup form is any guide. However, with just about every squad being strengthened this summer, it is difficult to predict who will struggle along with them at the foot of the table.

Aberdeen

Aberdeen

Last season: 2nd

Manager: Derek McInnes

Summer priority: Scott Brown and Adam Collin, who had been on loan from Rotherham United, failed to take their opportunity after Danny Ward returned to Liverpool in January, leaving Derek McInnes seeking a new goalkeeper this summer. The Dons boss will hope that Joe Lewis, at 28, still in his prime as a goalkeeper, will show the form that led to him gaining experience in England's top two divisions. Former Scotland cap Neil Alexander has arrived from Hearts as reliable, if ageing, back-up.

Key signing: With the return of loanee Simon Church to MK Dons and the failure of David Goodwillie to make an impact, the Dons moved swiftly to secure two strikers. Jayden Stockley arrives from Bournemouth but has only scored consistently while on loan in England's League Two with Exeter City, while Miles Storey merely showed promise on loan to Premiership rivals Inverness Caledonian Thistle from Swindon Town and manager Derek McInnes will hope that at least one of them can step up a level.

Verdict: 3rd. Derek McInnes has improved the depth of his squad in attack and in goal, but central defence and creativity in central midfield remain a concern if they are to mount a challenge for the title or even hang on to the runners-up spot for a third year running.

In: Jayden Stockley, forward (Bournemouth); Joe Lewis, goalkeeper (Cardiff City); Neil Alexander, goalkeeper (Heart of Midlothian); Miles Storey, forward (Swindon Town); Callum Morris, defender (Dundee United); Anthony O'Connor, defender (Burton Albion). Loan: James Maddison, midfielder (Norwich City); Wes Burns, forward (Bristol City).

Out: David Goodwillie, forward (Plymouth Argyle); Willo Flood, midfielder (Dundee United); Scott Brown, goalkeeper; Barry Robson, midfielder (retired); Sam Robertson, defender (Inverness Caledonian Thistle); Michael Rose, defender (Ayr United); Kalvin Orsi, forward (St Mirren); Lukas Culjak, defender; Liam Lambert, defender. Loan ended: Simon Church, forward (MK Dons); Adam Collin, goalkeeper (Rotherham United). Loan: Cammy Smith, forward (Dundee United); Danny Rogers, goalkeeper (Falkirk); Lawrence Shankland, forward (St Mirren); Aaron Lennox, goalkeeper (Raith Rovers); Daniel Harvie, defender (Dumbarton); Robbie Mutch, goalkeeper (Arbroath).

Celtic

Celtic

Last season: 1st, Scottish Premiership champions

Manager: Brendan Rodgers

Summer priority: Celtic's defence creaked last season under the rigours of European competition and a series of injury problems meant that cover at centre-half is even more pressing and new manager Brendan Rodgers turned to Kolo Toure, who was with him at Liverpool, as a reliable, if ageing, addition.

Key signing: With Colin Kazim-Richards and Carlton Cole being unceremoniously shipped out the back door after a disastrous few months in Glasgow and fellow striker Anthony Stokes' failure to secure a new deal despite helping Hibernian to Scottish Cup glory, a partner or rival for Leigh Griffiths was a must for Brendan Rodgers. Snatching Moussa Dembele after his exit from Fulham appears to be a shrewd piece of business considering his 17 goals in the English Championship last season at the age of only 19.

Verdict: 1st. Brendan Rodgers inherited an over-abundance of midfielders and has yet to trim that area of a squad that still requires more strength in depth in defence and up front. Celtic are likely to have enough in reserve to win a sixth successive domestic title even without such changes despite the return of city rivals Rangers, but significant progress in Europe depends on it.

In: Brendan Rodgers, manager; Chris Davies, assistant manager (Reading); Scott Sinclair, midfielder (Aston Villa, undisclosed); Kolo Toure, defender (Liverpool); Dorus de Vries, goalkeeper (Nottingham Forest, undisclosed); Cristian Gamboa, defender (West Bromwich Albion, undisclosed); Moussa Dembele, forward (Fulham, undisclosed); Kristoffer Ajer, midfielder (Start, undisclosed); PJ Crossan, forward (Dunfermline Athletic, undisclosed).

Out: Ronny Deila, manager; John Collins, assistant manager; Colin Kazim-Richards, forward (Coritiba, undisclosed); Stefan Scepovic, forward (Getafe, undisclosed); Charlie Mulgrew, defender (Blackburn Rovers); Anthony Stokes, forward (Blackburn Rovers); Darnell Fisher, defender (Rotherham United); Stuart Findlay, defender (Newcastle United); Jack Breslin, defender (Hamilton Academical); Carlton Cole, forward; Ciaran Lafferty, forward (Dunfermline Athletic). Loan: Saidy Janko, defender (Barnsley); Michael Duffy, midfielder (Dundee); Scott Allan, midfielder (Rotherham United); Paul McMullan, forward (Dunfermline Athletic); Jamie Lindsay, midfielder (Greenock Morton); Joe Thomson, midfielder (Dumbarton); Aidan Nesbitt, forward (Greenock Morton); Luke Donnelly, forward (Alloa Athletic); Colin McCabe, goalkeeper (Stenhousemuir); Fiacre Kelleher, defender (Peterhead).

Dundee

Dundee

Last season: 8th

Manager: Paul Hartley

Summer priority: While Dundee manager Paul Hartley has added to his squad in all areas apart from goalkeeper, his priority will be the retention of Greg Stewart, who has been linked with Rangers among others as he enters the final year of his contract, following the sale of Kane Hemmings to Oxford United split up the deadliest strike partnership in the Scottish Premiership.

Key signing: Persuading winger Danny Williams, along with fellow midfielder James Vincent, to make the switch from Premiership rivals Inverness Caledonian Thistle and adding Michael Duffy on loan from Celtic could provide the width to their attack that Dundee lacked last season.

Verdict: 8th. Almost as soon as Paul Hartley found himself a potent strike force, he was having to construct a new one. Such is the way of the Scottish Premiership manager and he will be hoping that Faissal El Bakhtaoui can prove as prolific as the departed Kane Hemmings if his side are to challenge again for the top six.

In: Kevin Gomis, defender (Nice); Tom Hateley, defender (Slask Wroclaw); Danny Williams, midfielder (Inverness Caledonian Thistle); James Vincent, midfielder (Inverness Caledonian Thistle); Mark O'Hara, defender (Kilmarnock); Yordi Teijsse, forward (Quick Boys); Faissal E Bakhtaoui, forward (Dunfermline Athletic). Loan: Michael Duffy, midfielder (Celtic).

Out: Greg Stewart, forward (Birmingham City, £500,000); Kane Hemmings, forward (Oxford United, undisclosed); Paul McGinn, defender (Chesterfield); Gary Harkins, midfielder (Ayr United); Daryll Meggatt, defender (Ayr United); Thomas Konrad, defender (Vaduz); Kevin Thomson, midfielder (Tranent); Andy Black, defender. Loan ended: Arturo Juan Rodriguez Perz-Reverte, forward (Cordoba). Loan: Josh Skelly, forward (Arbroath).

Hamilton Academical

Hamilton Academical

Last season: 10th

Player/manager: Martin Canning

Summer priority: Michael McGovern's contract came to an end, along with defender Lucas, and the goalkeeper's performances for Northern Ireland at Euro 2016 secured a move to Norwich City. Remi Matthews headed in the opposite direction on loan and will compete with Gary Woods, who was on loan to Ross County last season but has now left Leyton Orient.

Key signing: With Ziggy Gordon having rejected a new contract and joined Partick Thistle, Accies have brought in teenager Jack Breslin from Celtic as a replacement, but midfielder Massimo Donati, who was previously with Bari, could have a significant influence should the 35-year-old retain the qualities he showed previously with Celtic.

Verdict: 10th. Martin Canning had a hard act to follow in Alex Neil and the player/boss has still to fully convince the Accies faithful. He will surely do so if he can steer his meagre resources to another finish above the relegation places.

In: Massimo Donati, midfielder (Bari); Georgios Sarris, defender (Kayseri Erciyesspor); Danny Seaborne, defender (Partick Thistle); Sean McKirdy, midfielder (Heart of Midlothian); Rakish Bingham, forward (Hartlepool United); Gary Woods, goalkeeper (Leyton Orient); Jack Breslin, defender (Celtic); Jordan McGregor, defender (Hibernian); Robbie Thomson, goalkeeper (Queen of the South); Richard Roy, forward (Defence Force). Loan: Remi Matthews, goalkeeper (Norwich City); Sean McKirdy, midfielder (Heart of Midlothian).

Out: Michael McGovern, goalkeeper (Norwich City); Lucas, defender (Boavista); Ziggy Gordon, defender (Partick Thistle); Chris Mandiangu, midfielder (Zilina); Jon McCracken, goalkeeper (Norwich City); Kemy Agustien, midfielder (Dordrecht); Alan Martin, goalkeeper (Dumbarton); Steven Boyd, midfielder (Albion Rovers); Oumar Diaby, forward; Colin Granger, defender; Victor Gutsul, forward. Loan ended: Carlton Morris, forward (Norwich City). Loan: Conor Scullion, midfielder (Airdrieonians).

Heart of Midlothian

Heart of Midlothian

Last season: 3rd

Head coach: Robbie Neilson

Summer priority: Abiola Dauda is back at Vitesse Arnhem following his loan spell, so Hearts were again looking for a new striker. Head coach Robbie Neilson has increased the odds of finding a goalscorer by signing four strikers - Conor Sammon, whose form has resulted in a slip from the Premier League down to League One in recent seasons, Robbie Muirhead, who has failed to shine at both Dundee United and Partick Thistle but is still just fresh out of his teens, Tony Watt, who is recovering from injury and has been sent out on loan from Charlton Athletic, and 19-year-old Nikolay Todorov from Nottingham Forest.

Key signing: With Juwon Oshaniwa having failed to live up to his reputation as a Nigeria international, Hearts have brought in Belgium-born Faycal Rherras to compete for the left-back role and he has already impressed.

Verdict: 5th. Head coach Robbie Neilson and director of football Craig Levein have had the resources to create a squad that managed a creditable third-place finish in their return to the top flight. However, there remains a suspicion that the one-dimensional whole is less than the sum of its parts, although Tony Watt could be an exciting addition should the striker at last fulfil his promise.

In: Faycal Rherras, defender (Sint-Truiden); Viktor Noring, goalkeeper (Lyngby); Conor Sammon, forward (Derby County); Bjorn Johnsen, forward (Litex Lovech); Krystian Nowak, defender (Pdobeskidzie Bielsko-Biala); Robbie Muirhead, forward (Dundee United); Paul Gallacher, goalkeeper (Partick Thistle); Nikolay Todorov, forward (Nottingham Forest). Loan: Tony Watt, forward (Charlton Athletic).

Out: Neil Alexander, goalkeeper (Aberdeen); Morgaro Gomis, midfielder (Kelantan); Blazej Augustyn, defender (Ascoli Picchio); Sean McKirdy, midfielder (Hamilton Academical); Liam Henderson, defender (Falkirk); Miguel Pallardo, midfielder; Soufian El Hassnaoui, forward; Jahmal Howlett-Mundle, defender. Loan ended: Abiola Dauda, forward (Vitesse Arnhem). Loan: Jordan McGhee, defender (Middlesbrough); Billy King, midfielder (Inverness Caledonian Thistle); Sean McKirdy, midfielder (Hamilton Academical); Juanma, forward (Murcia); Gavin Reilly, forward (Dunfermline Athletic); Alistair Roy, forward (Stenhousemuir); Nikolay Todorov, forward (Cowdenbeath); Lewis Moore, midfielder (Cowdenbeath); Callum Morrison, midfielder (Stirling Albion).

Inverness Caledonian Thistle

Inverness Caledonian Thistle

Last season: 7th

Manager: Richie Foran

Summer priority: Having lost or shed six midfielders over the summer, new manager Richie Foran will be looking to add to that department and find someone with the creativity that exited with the sale of Ryan Christie to Celtic last season.

Key signing: With Miles Storey having preferred to join Aberdeen from Swindon Town after his loan spell at Caledonian Stadium, Richie Foran managed to persuade Scott Boden to reject a new deal at Newport County, where he scored 15 times last season, and will hope the 26-year-old can make the step up from England's League Two to Scotland's top flight.

Verdict: 7th. Caley Thistle finished a difficult season impressively under John Hughes once their injury problems started to ease and new manager Richie Foran will ice doing well if he can match that while ditching his predecessor's passing system with a more direct approach.

In: Lonsana Doumbouya, forward (Cercle Brugge); Brad McKay, defender (St Johnstone); Jake Mulraney, midfielder (Queens Park Rangers); Kevin McNaughton, defender (Wigan Athletic); Scott Boden, forward (Newport County); Sam Robertson, defender (Aberdeen). Loan: Billy King, midfielder (Heart of Midlothian); Larnell Cole, midfielder (Fulham).

Out: John Hughes, manager; Danny Devine, defender (Partick Thistle); Danny Williams, midfielder (Dundee); James Vincent, midfielder (Dundee); Dean Brill, goalkeeper (Motherwell); Nat Wedderburn, midfielder (Dunfermline Athletic); Jordan Roberts, midfielder (Crawley Town); Calum Ferguson, forward (Albion Rovers); Liam Hughes, midfielder (Barrow); Ryan Williams, midfielder (Ottawa Fury); Richie Foran, forward (retired); Andrea Mbuyi-Mutombo, forward; Calum Howarth, defender. Loan ended: Miles Storey, forward (Swindon Town). Loan: Jamie Insall, forward (East Fife); Jason Brown, midfielder (Arbroath); Cammy MacKay, goalkeeper (Elgin City).

Kilmarnock

Kilmarnock

Last season: 11th

Manager: Lee Clark

Summer priority: Manager Lee Clark has moved swiftly to reshape the squad he inherited midway through last season and, having discarded eight defenders, it was easy to see where his priority lay, and five have already been recruited to bolster Kilmarnock at the back.

Key signing: Having retained an experienced spine to his squad, Lee Clark has taken a gamble by recruiting 11 players of 23 or under to make up the rest of his squad. They all come from the fringes of English clubs, with the most well known to Scottish fans being former Scotland Under-21 midfielder Callum McFadzean, who had fallen out of favour at Sheffield United. However, the most intriguing is striker Souleymane Coulibaly, who signed for Tottenham Hotspur after starring for Ivory Coast at the Under-17 World Cup but was last year loaned to Newport County by Peterborough United.

Verdict: 12th. Lee Clark managed to steer the side he inherited clear of relegation via a play-off win over Falkirk, but the Englishman will do well to avoid another scrap at the bottom unless his rapidly assembled team of signings from his homeland adapt swiftly to the Scottish top flight.

In: Dapo Kayode, defender (Dinamo Bucuresti); Callum McFadzean, midfielder (Sheffield United); Martin Smith, midfielder (Sunderland); Souleymane Coulibaly, forward (Peterborough United); Jordan Jones, midfielder (Middlesbrough); Jamie Cobain, defender (Newcastle United); Joshua Webb, defender (Aston Villa); Nathan Tyson, forward (Doncaster Rovers). Loan: Jonathan Burn, defender (Middlesbrough); George Green, midfielder (Burnley); Luke Hendrie, defender (Burnley); Scott Boyd, defender (Ross County); Charlee Adams, midfielder (Birmingham City); Flo Bojaj, forward (Huddersfield Town); William Boyle, defender (Huddersfield Town).

Out: Josh Magennis, forward (Charlton Athletic, undisclosed); Julien Faubert, defender (Aris Saloniki); Mark O'Hara, defender (Dundee); David Syme, defender (Partick Thistle); Chris Johnston, midfielder (Raith Rovers); Conrad Balatoni, defender (Ayr United); Jamie Hamill, midfielder (Queen of the South); Kevin McHattie, defender (Raith Rovers); Lee Ashcroft, defender (Dunfermline Athletic); Tope Obadeyi, forward (Dundee United); Mark Connolly, defender (Crawley Town); Craig Slater, midfielder (Colchester United); Kallum Higginbotham, midfielder (Dunfermline Athletic); Conor Brennan, goalkeeper (Raith Rovers); Dale Carrick, forward (Livingston); Lee McCulloch, defender (retired); Alex Henshall, midfielder; Darryl Westlake, defender; Aaron Splaine, midfielder. Loan ended: Mark Waddington, defender (Stoke City); Oliver Davies, goalkeeper (Swansea City); Lee Hodson, defender (MK Dons); Stuart Findlay, defender (Celtic).

Motherwell

Motherwell

Last season: 5th

Manager: Mark McGhee

Summer priority: With David Clarkson and Wes Fletcher exiting Fir Park, manager Mark McGhee moved to secure Jacob Blyth. The striker joined Leicester City at the same time as Jamie Vardy and hopes that tips from the England international will help him make an impact in Scotland's top flight.

Key signing: Ben Heneghan had been linked with the Burnley, Hull City, Blackburn Rovers and Brighton after impressing with Chester in England's National League. However, the 22-year-old has chosen to move to a club where he has received assurances about first-team football.

Verdict: 6th. Motherwell will miss the influence of Stephen Pearson in midfield, but Mark McGhee, now with former Scotland forward James McFadden as his assistant, has managed to keep together most of the side that did so well to finish in the top six last season and has imported some added potential from English football.

In: Jacob Blyth, forward (Leicester City); Lee Lucas, midfielder (Swansea City); Dean Brill, goalkeeper (Inverness Caledonian Thistle); Carl McHugh, midfielder (Plymouth Argyle); Richard Tait, defender (Grimsby Town); Craig Clay, midfielder (Grimsby Town); Ben Heneghan, defender (Chester); Ryan Bowman, forward (Gateshead). Loan: Luka Belic, forward (West Ham United).

Out: Stephen Robinson, assistant manager (Oldham Athletic); Ben Hall, defender (Brighton & Hove Albion, undisclosed); Marvin Johnson, midfielder (Oxford United, undisclosed); Stephen Pearson, midfielder (Atletico de Kolkata); Robbie Leitch, midfielder (Burnley, undisclosed); David Clarkson, forward (St Mirren, loan to permanent); Josh Law, midfielder (Oldham Athletic); Wes Fletcher, forward (The New Saints); Brett Long, goalkeeper (Dundee United); Jack Leitch, midfielder (Airdrieonians). Loan ended: Connor Ripley, goalkeeper (Middlesbrough); Morgaro Gomis, midfielder (Hearts). Loan: Louis Laing, defender (Notts County); Craig Moore, forward (Ayr United); Luke Watt, defender (Stranraer).

Partick Thistle

Partick Thistle

Last season: 9th

Manager: Alan Archibald

Summer priority: Frederic Frans, Danny Seaborne and Gary Miller all rejected new contracts at Firhill, leaving manager Alan Archibald seeking a new central defence. Danny Devine brings experience from Premiership rivals Inverness Caledonian Thistle, but Ziggy Gordon appears to be the most astute signing after the right-back attracted the attention of several clubs after deciding to leave Hamilton Accies.

Key signing: Ade Azeez won the play-off penalty that helped Wimbledon win promotion to England's League One but rejected a new contract to join Thistle. The Glasgow club will be required to pay the Wombles compensation, so they must think the 22-year-old striker will be a worthwhile investment.

Verdict: 9th. Despite interest from elsewhere, and from Inverness Caley Thistle in particular, Alan Archibald managed to keep a hold of key midfield trio Stuart Bannigan, Steven Lawless and Abdul Osman and that could go a long way to helping Thistle again avoid relegation trouble.

In: Ade Azeez, forward (Wimbledon, undisclosed); Adam Barton, midfielder (Portsmouth, undisclosed); Ziggy Gordon, defender (Hamilton Academical); Chris Erskine, midfielder (Dundee United); Danny Devine, defender (Inverness Caledonian Thistle); David Syme, defender (Kilmarnock); Thorsten Stuckmann, goalkeeper (Doncaster Rovers).

Out: Frederic Frans, defender (Lierse); Mathias Pogba, forward (Sparta Rotterdam); Gary Miller, defender (Plymouth Argyle); Paul Gallacher, goalkeeper (Heart of Midlothian); Chris Duggan, forward (East Fife); Danny Seaborne, defender (Hamilton Academical); Marc Waters, goalkeeper (Queen's Park); Scot Whiteside, defender (Derry City); David Crawford, goalkeeper; Jordan Leyden, midfielder. Loan ended: Aidan Nesbitt, midfielder (Celtic). Loan: Kevin Nisbet, forward (Ayr United).

Rangers

Rangers

Last season: 1st in Scottish Championship

Manager: Mark Warburton

Summer priority: Rangers were vulnerable at times in central defence last season and manager Mark Warburton has recruited Clint Hill after the 37-year-old's release by Queens Park Rangers to add extra steel, if not pace, to that department.

Key Signing: Warburton has sought to completely reshape his midfield and, while Jordan Rossiter, who was highly rated at Liverpool, could be the most exciting addition in the long run, Joey Barton, fresh from leading Burnley to the Championship title in England, is the man they will look to for extra bite, presence and leadership.

Verdict: 2nd. Mark Warburton's side brushed aside the predicted threat of Hibernian in last season's Championship thanks to their greater consistency while suggesting they will be force again in the top flight by knocked Celtic out of the Scottish Cup. Adding quality and experience in the shape of Niko Kranjcar and Barton, they are likely to be the reigning champions' closest challengers.

In: Niko Kranjcar, midfielder (New York Cosmos); Joey Barton, midfielder (Burnley); Philippe Senderos, defender (Grasshoppers); Joe Garner, forward (Preston North End, undisclosed); Matt Gilks, goalkeeper (Burnley); Jordan Rossiter, midfielder (Liverpool); Clint Hill, defender (Queens Park Rangers); Joe Dodoo, forward (Leicester City, undisclosed); Lee Hodson, defender (MK Dons); Josh Windass, midfielder (Accrington Stanley); Matt Crooks, midfielder (Accrington Stanley). Loan: David Bates, defender (Raith Rovers).

Out: Cammy Bell, goalkeeper (Dundee United); Nicky Clark, forward (Bury); Nicky Law, midfielder (Bradford City); Maciej Gostomski, goalkeeper (Korona Kielce); Luca Gasparotto, defender (Falkirk); Przemyslaw Dachnowicz, midfielder (Annan Athletic); Jamie Mills, defender (Stirling Albion); Dean Shiels, midfielder (Dundalk); David Templeton, midfielder; Darren Ramsay, midfielder (Annan Athletic); Andy Murdoch, midfielder. Loan ended: Gedion Zelalem, midfielder (Arsenal); Dominic Ball, defender (Tottenham Hotspur); Billy King, midfielder (Heart of Midlothian). Loan: Tom Walsh, midfielder (St Mirren); Ryan Hardie, forward (St Mirren); Jordan Thompson, forward (Raith Rovers); Scott Roberts, midfielder (Raith Rovers); Liam Kelly, goalkeeper (Livingston).

Ross County

Ross County

Last season: 6th

Manager: Jim McIntyre

Summer priority: County manager Jim McIntyre appears to have targeted his back line for improvement next season, with four of his five signings being defenders and the other a goalkeeper, but the sale of Jackson Irvine to Burton Albion means midfield reinforcements are also required.

Key signing: Big things were expected for Jay McEveley when he won his first Scotland cap. That was back in 2007 and he never quite made the expected move to England's top flight, but the 31-year-old left-back has still been playing regularly at a reasonable level with Sheffield United.

Verdict: 11th. Jackson Irvine was a driving force in midfield as County achieved their highest-ever league finish and Jim McIntyre will be doing well to match that achievement without the Australian.

In: Jay McEveley, defender (Sheffield United); Tim Chow, midfielder (Wigan Athletic); Christopher Routis, defender (Bradford City); Kenny van der Weg, defender (Breda); Aaron McCarey, goalkeeper (Wolverhampton Wanderers); Erik Cikos, defender (Slovan Bratislava); Chris Burke, midfielder (Nottingham Forest).

Out: Jackson Irvine, midfielder (Burton Albion, undisclosed); Richard Foster, defender (St Johnstone); Andy Dow, forward (Dundee United); Rocco Quinn, midfielder (St Mirren); Stewart Murdoch, midfielder (Dundee United); Brian Graham, forward (Hibernian); Raffaele De Vita, midfielder; Chris Robertson, defender (Wimbledon); Darren Moffat, midfielder (Hurlford United); Peter Tait, goalkeeper. Loan ended: Gary Woods, goalkeeper (Leyton Orient). Loan: Scott Boyd, defender (Kilmarnock); Kyle MacLeod, forward (Elgin City).

St Johnstone

St Johnstone

Last season: 4th

Manager: Tommy Wright

Summer priority: With captain Dave Mackay ruled out for the second half of last season, Saints looked short at the back, but the 36-year-old is back in training and manager Tommy Wright has added right-back Keith Watson, who had top-flight experience with Dundee United, from St Mirren.

Key signing: While Paul Paton, the new arrival from Dundee United, is much admired for his graft and leadership, it is the signing of Blair Alston from Falkirk that could give a new element of creativity and vigour to an often staid midfield.

Verdict: 4th. Chairman Steve Brown heeded manager Tommy Wright's warning that he would have to increase the playing budget as a result of Rangers adding their spending power to the Premiership and together they had added some quality signings that will give them a chance of a sixth consecutive top-six finish.

In: Richard Foster, defender (Ross County); Paul Paton, midfielder (Dundee United); Blair Alston, midfielder (Falkirk); Keith Watson, defender (St Mirren); Michael Coulson, midfielder (York City). Loan: Joe Gormley, forward (Peterborough United).

Out: John Sutton, forward (St Mirren); Dave Mackay, defender (retired); Brad McKay, defender (Inverness Caledonian Thistle); Simon Lappin, midfielder; Michael Doyle, defender (Greenock Morton); Scott Brown, midfielder (Peterhead); Plamen Krachunov, defender (Ethnikos Achnas); Jordan Millar, goalkeeper (Montrose); Neil Martyniuk, defender (Edinburgh City); Greg Kerr, forward; Bradley Sinclair, forward. Loan ended: Darnell Fisher, defender (Celtic). Loan: Scott Roberts, midfielder (Raith Rovers); Mark Hurst, goalkeeper (East Fife); Jason Kerr, defender (East Fife); Craig Thomson, midfielder (Stranraer); Greg Hurst, forward (Berwick Rangers).

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