Scottish Championship ins and outs - Summer 2015

By Clive LindsayBBC Scotland Sport
Rangers manager Mark Warburton and assistant David Weir
Warburton and assistant David Weir took over at Rangers

Having missed out on promotion in last season's play-off final under Stuart McCall, Rangers have handed new manager Mark Warburton a war chest the like of which no other Championship club can contemplate.

A trio of players have been bought from Wigan Athletic after their relegation from the English second tier, while midfielder Jason Holt also cost a compensation fee from last year's champions, Hearts.

Making way for them, a host of old warhorses, like former Scotland internationals Kris Boyd and Lee McCulloch, were among 25 players who have exited Ibrox as the English boss operates with a slimmer squad in more ways than one.

The only other significant cash outlays have been made by Hibernian, who paid compensation to relegated St Mirren for John McGinn and an undisclosed fee to Celtic for his fellow midfielder, Dylan McGeough.

However, Dumbarton, under new manager Stephen Aitken, Alloa Athletic, Livingston and Queen of the South each start the season having replaced one team full of players with another.

In Queens' case, they at least received compensation fees for four of the players they would have preferred to keep, a richer harvest than most clubs have managed in recent seasons.

Alloa Athletic

Alloa Athletic

Key signing: Mikk Reintam is an unknown quantity in Scotland, but the 25-year-old central defender, who was last in the second tier in the Czech Republic, has won 11 caps for Estonia.

Intriguing arrival: Defender Catalin Paun made 31 appearances for Rapid Bucharest during his time with the Romanian outfit, but the 27-year-old was last year playing in the Scottish Lowland League for Stirling University, where he has been working.

One that got away: Daryll Meggatt obviously impressed Paul Hartley while the latter was at Recreation Park and the former Wasps manager has taken the 24-year-old left-back with him to Dundee in the Premiership.

In: Mikk Reintam, defender (Frydek-Mistek); Burton O'Brien, midfielder (Livingston); Dougie Hill, defender (Raith Rovers); Andy McNeil, goalkeeper (Airdrieonians); Kyle McAusland, defender (Dunfermline Athletic); Colin Hamilton, defender (Brechin City); Mark Williams, defender (St Mirren); David Crawford, goalkeeper (Arbroath); Geoff Mitchell, forward (Histon); Catalin Paun, midfielder (Stirling University). Loan: Conor McManus, midfielder (Celtic); Michael Duffy, forward (Celtic); Robbie Crawford, midfielder (Rangers).

Out: Daryll Meggatt, defender (Dundee); Liam Buchanan, forward (Livingston); Ben Gordon, defender (Livingston); Ryan McCord, midfielder (Raith Rovers); Kevin Cawley, forward (Dumbarton); Mark Docherty, midfielder (Dumbarton); Greig Spence, forward (Cowdenbeath); Jonathan Tiffoney, defender (Brechin City); Omar Kader, forward (Forfar Athletic); John Gibson, goalkeeper (Clyde); Russell McLean, forward (Hearts); Mikey Couser, goalkeeper (East Fife); Stephen Simmons, midfielder; Adam Asghar, midfielder; Craig McDowall, goalkeeper; Michael Doyle, defender; Greg Rutherford, forward; David Weatherston, forward. Loan ended: Kyle Benedictus, defender (Dundee); David Ferguson (Motherwell). Phil Roberts, midfielder (Dundee); Calaum Jahraldo-Martin, forward (Hull City).

Last season: 9th

Prediction: 10th. Danny Lennon had a perennial relegation battle with St Mirren and now he has another in the league below. With Cowdenbeath's relegation, there's one less part-time team in League One and the Wasps will be favourites to buzz off to League One at the end of the season.



Key signing: New captain Darren Barr, who seemed to have a promising top-flight career ahead of him when he won his only Scotland cap in 2008, could be an astute signing, but only if the 30-year-old manages to escape the injuries that have dogged his career since.

Intriguing arrival: Former Falkirk, Motherwell, Livingston and Ross County striker Steven Craig, now 34, returns to Scotland after two years with Wycombe Wanderers in England's League Two.

One that got away: Former Northern Ireland Under-21 midfielder Chris Turner turned down a new contract and the 28-year-old has won himself a shot at full-time football in the top-flight with Hamilton Academical.

In: Stephen Aitken, manager (Stranraer); Mark Brown, goalkeeper (Ross County); Frazer Wright, defender (St Johnstone); Darren Barr, defender (Ross County); Jon Routledge, midfielder (Hamilton Academical); Steven Ross, forward (Ross County); Steven Craig, forward (Wycombe Wanderers); Kevin Cawley, forward (Alloa Athletic); Mark Docherty, midfielder (Alloa Athletic); Willie Gibson, midfielder (Stranraer); Gordon Smith, forward (Stirling Albion); Gregor Buchanan, defender (Dunfermline Athletic); Grant Gallagher, defender (Stranraer); Steven Ross, forward (Ross County) Loan: Calum Waters, defender (Celtic); Scott Brown, midfielder (St Johnstone); Jamie Lindsay, midfielder (Celtic).

Out: Ian Murray, manager (St Mirren); Mark Spalding, assistant manager (St Mirren); Chris Turner, midfielder (Hamilton Academical); Scott Agnew, midfielder (St Mirren); Mitch Megginson, forward (Raith Rovers); Lee Mair, defender (Stranraer); David van Zanten, defender (Airdrieonians); Andy Graham, defender (Ayr United); Scott Linton, midfielder (Clyde); Archie Campbell, forward (Clyde); Mark Gilhaney, midfielder (Stenhousemuir); Stephen Grindlay, goalkeeper (Beith); Josh Lumsden, goalkeeper (Clydebank); Darren Miller, midfielder; Mark Wilson, defender; Joe Coleman, defender; Kjeld McIntyre, midfielder. Loan ended: Stuart Findlay, defender (Celtic); Darren Petrie, midfielder (Dundee United); Dylan Easton, midfielder (St Johnstone). Loan: Gordon Smith, forward (Cowdenbeath).

Last season: 7th

Prediction: 8th. Stephen Aitken helped Stranraer punch above their weight in League One and he appears to have reinforced his squad sufficiently to ensure another season of survival for the part-timers from the Rock.



Key signing: Having spent much of his career as a substitute at Motherwell despite now being 24, Bob McHugh will be keen to make his mark as a starter and could prove an ideal replacement up front for the departed Rory Loy.

Intriguing arrival: At 21, Danny Rogers has the task of replacing the much-lauded Jamie McDonald, but the New York-born Republic of Ireland Under-21 goalkeeper already has experience in the Championship in his last loan from Aberdeen, with Dumbarton.

One that got away: Falkirk was a surprise destination when Jamie MacDonald left Hearts and it was no surprise that the goalkeeper who played a major role in the Bairns' progress to the Scottish Cup final has returned to the Premiership with Kilmarnock.

In: Bob McHugh, forward (Motherwell); Lee Miller, forward (Kilmarnock); Paul Watson, defender (Raith Rovers). Loan: Danny Rogers, goalkeeper (Aberdeen); Ryan Sinnamon, defender (Rangers).

Out: Botti Biabi, forward (Swansea City, undisclosed fee); Jamie MacDonald, goalkeeper (Kilmarnock); Rory Loy, forward (Dundee); Ryan McGeever, defender (Queen's Park); Ollie Durojaiye, midfielder; Robbie McNab, midfielder; Liam Rowan, defender; Gregor Amos, goalkeeper. Loan ended: Taylor Morgan, forward (Ostersunds).

Last season: 5th

Prediction: 4th. Peter Houston has been unable to make many additions to his squad, but the Bairns' youthful outfit is a year older and wiser and should continue their slow progress.

Greenock Morton


Key signing: Denny Johnstone joined Birmingham City last summer after rejecting a new deal with Celtic. Now the 20-year-old striker returns to Scotland on loan after similar spells with Macclesfield Town, Cheltenham Town and Burton Albion under his belt and could be a potent scoring force in the Championship.

Intriguing arrival: Romario Sabajo spent seven years with PSV Eindhoven but most recently played for Lienden in his native Netherlands' third tier.

One that got away: While Jim Duffy has not managed to add many summer signings, he has kept the main elements of his League One title winning squad intact.

In: Romario Sabajo, forward (Lienden); Bobby Barr, winger (Brechin City); Frank McKeown, defender (Stranraer). Loan: Denny Johnstone, forward (Birmingham City); Luca Gasparotto, defender (Rangers); Alex Samuel, forward (Swansea City).

Out: Stefan Milojevic, defender (Zlate Moravce); Jamie McCluskey, midfielder (Víkingur); Ross Caldwell, forward (Ayr United); Sean Crighton, defender (Airdrieonians); Aidan Ferris, forward (BSC Glasgow); Craig Knight, midfielder; David McNeil, forward; Nicolas Caraux, goalkeeper.

Last season: 1st (League One champions and promoted)

Prediction: 9th. Jim Duffy's side only just pipped part-timers Forfar Athletic and Stranraer to the League One title last season and could struggle to make an impact in the division above unless they further strengthen.



Key signing: John McGinn's career looked to be in limbo. The promising Scotland Under-21 midfielder's form had tailed off during a season cut short by an unfortunate training ground accident when his leg was pierced by a training pole thrown by a team-mate. Out of contract having refused a new deal, the 20-year-old could only move to a new club if they were willing to pay a potentially substantial compensation fee, but Hibs came to the rescue and now have the task of resurrecting his form.

Intriguing arrival: For someone so young, Islam Feruz has already left a trail of controversy in his wake. The 19-year-old forward disappointed Celtic by leaving for Chelsea despite the Glasgow club helping him settle in Scotland from Somalia and he then disappointed Scotland by hinting that he would want to play for Somalia in the African Cup of Nations. Hibs will be hoping he makes a bigger impression on loan from Chelsea than he did with OFI Crete and Blackpool.

One that got away: Scott Allan had started to look a class above other midfielders in the Championship, but he engineered himself a transfer, albeit Celtic paid out a small fee, only a year after his arrival after a disappointing spell with West Brom.

In: Darren McGregor, defender (Rangers); Dylan McGeouch, midfielder (Celtic, undisclosed); John McGinn, forward (St Mirren, compensation); Antonio Reguero, goalkeeper (Ross County); James Keatings, forward (Hearts); Darren McGregor, defender (Rangers); Dan Carmichael, midfielder (Queen of the South); Marvin Bartley, midfielder (Leyton Orient); Martin Boyle, forward (Dundee); Mark Oxley, goalkeeper (Hull City), Jamie Insall, forward (unattached). Loan: Liam Henderson, midfielder (Celtic), Islam Feruz, forward (Chelsea); Henri Anier, forward (Dundee United).

Out: Scott Allan, midfielder (Celtic, £275,000); Franck Dja Djedje, forward (Al-Shahania); Scott Robertson, midfielder (Botosani); Tomas Cerny, goalkeeper (Partick Thistle); Callum Booth, defender (Partick Thistle); Liam Craig, midfielder (St Johnstone); Alan Combe, goalkeeper (retired). Loan: Alex Harris, midfielder (Queen of the South); Lewis Allan, forward (Forfar Athletic).

Last season: 2nd

Prediction: 2nd. Alan Stubbs has been able to keep most of a squad together that just missed out on promotion via the play-offs and they should challenge again at the top, particularly if they can continue to thwart Rangers' attempt to sign midfielder Scott Allan.



Key signing: Striker Liam Buchanan brings with him goals at second-tier level with Alloa Athletic last year and previously with Dunfermline Athletic.

Intriguing arrival: Matt Gould will be hoping that a move to Scottish football will launch his career in a same way as his fellow goalkeeper and father, Jonathan, formerly with Celtic, after a disappointing spell with Cheltenham Town.

One that got away: Livingston have seen a whole experienced midfield pass through the exit door, but their most significant loss could be Declan Gallagher should the defender lose his appeal against a three-year jail sentence.

In: Spas Georgiev, midfielder (Dobrudzha Dobrich); Kieran Gibbons, midfielder (Aberdeen); Morgyn Neill, defender (Motherwell); Darren Smith, midfielder (Hamilton Academical); Liam Buchanan, forward (Alloa Athletic); Ben Gordon, defender (Alloa Athletic); Matt Gould, goalkeeper (Cheltenham Town); Ross Millen, defender (Dunfermline Athletic); Jackson Longridge, defender (Stranraer); Hugo Faria, midfielder (Apollon Smyrni); Moses Duckrell, forward (BK Sport); Jordyn Sheerin, forward (Musselburgh Athletic).

Out: Shaun Rutherford, midfielder (Queen of the South); Kyle Jacobs, midfielder (Queen of the South); Burton O'Brien, midfielder (Alloa Athletic); Keaghan Jacobs, midfielder (Bidvest Wits); Jason Talbot, defender (Dunfermline Athletic); Callum Fordyce, defender (Dunfermline Athletic); Bradley Donaldson, defender (Cowdenbeath); Jack Beaumont, midfielder (Cowdenbeath); Michael McKenna, defender (Berwick Rangers); Kevin Walker, goalkeeper (Berwick Rangers); Nejc Praprotnik, midfielder; Ibra Sekaja, forward; Rory Boulding, forward; Darren Moffatt, midfielder; Ross King, midfielder.

Last season: 8th

Prediction: 7th. Mark Burchill managed to inspire his side, hampered by a points penalty, to a last-gasp escape from relegation. Now that a signing ban has been lifted, Livi should be destined for mid-table safety.

Queen of the South

Queen of the South

Key signing: Alex Harris will hope to rediscover the form that made him such an exciting prospect when he first broke through with Hibs, the 20-year-old winger having been sent out for another loan spell after failing to shine with Dundee last season.

Intriguing arrival: Callum Tapping was on the books of Celtic and Tottenham Hotspur as a teenager, was capped for Scotland at youth level and was thrust into Hearts' first-team at a young age as they hit financial problems. His career has subsequently stalled, but the 22-year-old has been given another chance at a higher level despite making more than half of his 17 appearances last season from the bench for League One Brechin City.

One that got away: With the loss of Ian McShane, Kevin Holt, Mark Durnan and Gavin Reilly to Premiership clubs, albeit for fees or compensation, and Dan Carmichael switching to Hibs, it is not just a case of one that got away but a whole spine of a team.

In: Gavin Skelton, midfielder/assistant manager (Workington); Gary Oliver, forward (Hearts, undisclosed); Paul Heffernan, forward (Dundee); Steven Higgins, forward (Motherwell); Kyle Hutton, midfielder (Rangers); Ryan Conroy, midfielder (Raith Rovers); Shaun Rutherford, midfielder (Livingston); Kyle Jacobs, midfielder (Livingston); Robbie Thomson, goalkeeper (Cowdenbeath); Darren Brownlie, defender (Cowdenbeath); Dale Hilson, forward, (Forfar Athletic); Callum Tapping, midfielder (Brechin City); Jordan Marshall, defender (Carlisle United). Loan: Alex Harris. midfielder (Hibernian).

Out: Ian McShane, midfielder (Ross County, undisclosed fee); Kevin Holt, defender (Dundee, compensation); Mark Durnan, defender (Dundee United, compensation); Gavin Reilly, forward (Hearts, compensation); Dan Carmichael, midfielder (Hibernian); Kevin Dzierzawski, midfielder (Peterhead); Michael Paton, midfielder (Dunfermline Athletic); Chris Mitchell, defender (Clyde); Patrick Slattery, midfielder (East Fife); Dean Smith, midfielder (Gretna); Paul Burns, midfielder (retired); Kenny Arthur, goalkeeper (retired); Salim Kouider-Assia, forward; Stephen McKenna, midfielder. Loan ended: Zander Clark, goalkeeper (St Johnstone).

Last season: 4th

Prediction: 5th. After last season's much-praised finish as the "best of the rest" behind Hearts, Hibs and Rangers, James Fowler's squad has been decimated by players using their enhanced reputation to move to a higher level and the Dumfries side will struggle to repeat that feat.

Raith Rovers

Raith Rovers

Key signing: Jon Daly found himself on the bench for Rangers last season, believes he has a point to prove and the 32-year-old striker showed his determination to play regularly by snubbing a late approach by Hibs.

Intriguing arrival: Craig Wighton has long been touted as the next big thing at Dens Park and, at 18, the striker will be expected to make more of an impact at Stark's Park than he did last season with parent club Dundee.

One that got away: Powerful former Hearts striker Christian Nade was tempted back to the top flight by Hamilton Accies and the loss of 19-year-old prospect Lewis Vaughan to a long-term injury picked up in the League Cup win over Albion Rovers leaves the Kirkcaldy side light up front.

In: Ray McKinnon, manager (Brechin City); Kyle Benedictus, defender (Dundee); James Craigen, midfielder (Partick Thistle); Jon Daly, forward (Rangers); Mitch Megginson, forward (Dumbarton); Darren Petrie, midfielder (Dundee United); Ryan McCord, midfielder (Alloa Athletic); Lewis Toshney, defender (Cowdenbeath), Gary Oliver, forward (Hearts, undisclosed). Loan: Craig Wighton, forward (Dundee).

Out: Christian Nade, forward (Hamilton Academical); Ryan Conroy, midfielder (Queen of the South); Paul Watson, defender (Falkirk); Dougie Hill, defender (Alloa Athletic); Martin Scott, midfielder (Salgaocar); Andrew Munro, defender (Arbroath); Liam Fox, midfielder (Hearts, coach); Calum Elliot, forward (retired); Kevin Moon, midfielder; Liam McCroary, midfielder. Loan: David McGurn, goalkeeper (Stranraer); Jonny Court, forward (East Stirlingshire).

Last season: 6th

Prediction: 6th. Ray McKinnon led unfashionable Brechin City to a promotion play-off place last season in League One and he is likely to keep Rovers safely in mid-table.



Key signing: James Tavernier did the rounds of English clubs while with Newcastle United and was then sent out on loan to Bristol City last season after failing to settle with Wigan Athletic. However, the 23-year-old is fast, skilful, a goal threat despite being a defender and should solve Rangers' problems at right-back.

Intriguing arrival: Danny Wilson has been accused of lacking ambition by rejecting the chance to return to the top flight after captaining Hearts to the Championship title last season. Instead, the 23-year-old chose to rejoin the club he left to join Liverpool in 2010 and that could prove to be the most astute piece of business this summer by the Ibrox club.

One that got away: Scott Allan made much of his Rangers allegiance and expressed his desire to play for the Ibrox club, but Hibs' refusal to contemplate a sale to their title rivals gave Celtic the opportunity to gazump their Glasgow neighbours and secure the midfielder's signature.

In: Mark Warburton, manager (Brentford); David Weir, assistant manager (Brentford); James Tavernier, defender (Wigan Athletic, undisclosed); Martyn Waghorn, forward (Wigan Athletic, undisclosed); Rob Kiernan, defender (Wigan Athletic, undisclosed); Jason Holt, midfielder (Hearts, compensation); Danny Wilson, defender (Hearts); Andy Halliday, midfielder (Bradford City); Wes Foderingham, goalkeeper (Swindon Town); Jordan Thompson, midfielder (Manchester United). Loan: Gedion Zelalem, midfielder (Arsenal); Nathan Oduwa, forward (Tottenham Hotspur); Dominic Ball, defender (Tottenham Hotspur).

Out: Kris Boyd, forward (Kilmarnock); Lee McCulloch, defender (Kilmarnock); Steven Smith, defender (Kilmarnock); Bilel Mohsni, defender (Angers); Richard Foster, defender (Ross County); Calum Gallagher, forward (St Mirren); Jon Daly, forward (Raith Rovers); Darren McGregor, defender (Hibernian); Kyle Hutton, midfielder (Queen of the South); Jamie Burrows, forward (Yeovil Town); Greg Pascazio, defender (Montrose); Marius Zaliukas, defender; Ian Black, midfielder; Steve Simonsen, goalkeeper; Sebastien Faure, defender; Lee Robinson, goalkeeper; Danny Stoney, forward; Lewis McMinn, goalkeeper; Kristian Gibson, defender; Junior Ogen, forward; Scot Whiteside, defender. Loan: Ryan Sinnamon, defender (Falkirk); Luca Gasparotto, defender (Greenock Morton); Darren Ramsay, defender (Arbroath); Andy Murdoch, midfielder (Cowdenbeath); Robbie Crawford, midfielder (Alloa Athletic). Loan ended: Haris Vuckic, midfielder (Newcastle United); Shane Ferguson, midfielder (Newcastle United); Gael Bigirimana, midfielder (Newcastle United); Kevin Mbabu, defender (Newcastle United); Remie Streete, defender (Newcastle United).

Last season: 3rd

Prediction: 1st. Despite Rangers' continued financial troubles, new manager Mark Warburton has a budget that dwarfs all others in the Championship - and all but Celtic in the Premiership. Without the distraction of the boardroom battle that split the fans and weighed down the players last season, the Ibrox side should make it to the top flight at the second attempt.

St Mirren

St Mirren

Key signing: Calum Gallagher scored five times in 10 appearances on loan from Rangers to Cowdenbeath last season despite the Fifers' relegation troubles and the 20-year-old can surely only get better.

Intriguing arrival: Cameron Howieson made his Burnley debut at the age of 17 and already has nine caps for New Zealand. However, the 22-year-old midfielder was released after failing to become a regular with the Clarets.

One that got away: Scotland Under-21 midfielder John McGinn was out of contract with the relegated Paisley outfit and, having rejected the offer of a new deal, the 20-year-old will continue his development in Edinburgh after Hibs paid a compensation fee.

In: Ian Murray, manager (Dumbarton); Mark Spalding, assistant manager (Dumbarton); Jamie Langfield, goalkeeper/coach (Aberdeen); Stuart Carswell, midfielder (Motherwell); Keith Watson, defender (Dundee United); Andy Webster, defender (Coventry City); Cameron Howieson, midfielder (Burnley); Luke Conlan, defender (Burnley); Calum Gallagher, forward (Rangers); Scott Agnew, midfielder (Dumbarton). Loan: Paul McMullan, forward (Celtic); Lawrence Shankland, forward (Aberdeen).

Out: Gary Teale, manager/midfielder; John McGinn, forward (Hibernian, compensation); Gregg Wylde,external-link midfielder (Plymouth Argyle); Yoann Arquin, forward (1461 Trabzon); Mark Williams, defender (Alloa Athletic); Mo Yaqub, defender (Cowdenbeath); Jeroen Tesselaar, defender; Marian Kello, goalkeeper; Thomas Reilly, forward; Victor Genev, defender; Adam Brown, forward (Airdrie). Loan ended: Emmanuel Sonupe, midfielder (Tottenham Hotspur); James Dayton, midfielder (Oldham Athletic); Kieran Sadlier, midfielder (West Ham United).

Last season: 10th in Premiership (relegated)

Prediction: 3rd. Without the financial resources available to Hearts last season, St Mirren will struggle to make a quick return to the top flight even though, in Ian Murray, they have a new manager who knows the Championship well.