Summer signings can help lift Scottish game, says Kevin Thomson

Greg Stewart (left), Christophe Berra and Kyle Lafferty (right)
Greg Stewart (left) has joined Aberdeen while Christophe Berra and Kyle Lafferty (right) have moved to Hearts

Kevin Thomson says the calibre of players joining Premiership clubs this summer is a significant boost to the credibility of Scottish football.

The game has taken a hit with Rangers and St Johnstone crashing out of the Europa League in the first round.

But Thomson is delighted to see Steven Whittaker and Shaun Maloney potentially joining Christophe Berra,Kyle Lafferty and Greg Stewart in moving north.

"It can only add credibility to our game," he told BBC Scotland.

Celtic are expected to add quality to their treble-winning squad in the coming weeks and Rangers have brought in nine players so far, but it is the standard of signings being made by the other clubs that has impressed Thomson.

Whittaker, 33, is close to sealing a move from Norwich to newly-promoted Hibernian, where he started his career, while former Celtic forward Maloney, 34, is being chased by Aberdeen following his exit from Hull City.

Kevin Thomson and Steven Whittaker
Thomson (left) says his former Rangers team-mate Whittaker (right) will bring competition to the Hibs squad

The Dons have already brought in former Dundee striker Greg Stewart on loan from Birmingham, while defender Berra, 32, returned to Tynecastle, where has been joined by Lafferty, 29, who spent four years at Rangers.

"It's obviously very positive," added Thomson, who played beside Whittaker and Lafferty at Rangers and Berra and Maloney with Scotland.

"I know they are a bit older but they bring a wealth of experience and they are top players on their day.

"If they were two or three years younger it would probably never be an option for them to come back up here, without being disrespectful to the clubs up here, but they were earning big bucks down there at big clubs.

'I'm a huge fan - he's a terrific player'

"It's a real bonus for Scottish football that they are coming back up here and hopefully they can help the younger players in the squads.

"It's really refreshing that they are coming back and they can use their experience."

Thomson also played beside full-back Whittaker when they were coming through the ranks at Hibs and believes the experience and assurance he will add to Neil Lennon's team will prove invaluable.

And he added: "From a Hibs fans' point of view, it also brings competition, which is great. Whittaker won't want to sit on the bench and that brings up the tempo in training and challenges the other players, such as David Gray and Lewis Stevenson, so it can only bode well for the team.

"I played with Shaun Maloney for Scotland and at under-21 level, I'm a huge fan of his, he's a terrific player. Aberdeen have obviously lost talent, there's no getting away from that, but bringing in Greg Stewart, and if they get Maloney, it's a major coup for the club."

Shaun Maloney
Aberdeen remain hopeful of signing Shaun Maloney following his exit from Hull City

Thomson was in the same Rangers team as Northern Ireland striker Lafferty and reckons capturing him and Berra is "very good business" for Hearts.

"As a Hibee I hope he doesn't do the business for Hearts," Thomson said. "But seriously, he's a great lad. When he was young I think a lot of things came too quick to him.

"The fundamentals are to produce the goods every Saturday and keep focused. I think Laff would be the first to say if he could go back and do things differently he maybe would.

"I watched him numerous times for Northern Ireland. So for Hearts to sign someone like that, that's done it at the top level on the international stage, is a huge coup."

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