Scottish Premiership ins and outs - Summer 2017

By Clive LindsayBBC Scotland Sport
Rangers defender Bruno Alves and Sheffield Wednesday's Jordan Rhodes
Bruno Alves (left) will add international experience to Rangers' defence

Scotland's domestic season is under way, while its four European representatives had an even earlier start, and the revolving doors have been in motion as squads have been dismantled, rebuilt or merely tweaked.

Rangers, after a disappointing third-place finish last season, have been the biggest spenders as they try to narrow the gap between themselves and champions Celtic.

Portugal defender Bruno Alves is their most high-profile signing, from Cagliari, as manager Pedro Caixinha begins to turn Ibrox into Glasgow's Latin quarter.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers appears fairly content with the squad that won the club's sixth title in a row, but they have once again made the single biggest acquisition, with French midfielder Olivier Ntcham arriving from Manchester City in exchange for £4.5m.

Some of Scotland's best emerging talent has headed across the border to English football - Hibernian striker Jason Cummings and Rangers winger Barrie McKay to Nottingham Forest, right-back Calum Paterson from Hearts to Cardiff City, centre-half Liam Lindsay from Partick Thistle to Barnsley, while teen midfielder Billy Gilmour had not even established himself with Rangers before being sold to Chelsea.

Celtic midfielder Olivier Ntcham
Olivier Ntcham joined Celtic from Manchester City for £4.5m

The league's top scorer, Northern Ireland striker Liam Boyce, was also sold, by Ross County to Burton Albion.

They have been replaced with some well-known faces returning to the Scottish top-flight, albeit the wrong side of 30 - Iceland defender Kari Arnason to Aberdeen, Northern Ireland striker Kyle Lafferty and Scotland defender Christophe Berra to Hearts, former Norwich City duo Graham Dorrans and Steven Whittaker to Rangers and Hibs respectively, while former Ibrox defender Kirk Broadfoot and Scotland international Gordon Greer joined Kilmarnock.

Team rebuilding couldn't prevent Rangers and St Johnstone making ignominious exits at the first stage of Europa League qualifying, while Aberdeen fell two rounds later and Kilmarnock kicked-off the domestic season with a surprise League Cup defeat by third-tier Ayr United.

While Motherwell and Rangers have been the busiest in the transfer market, it took until the day before they opened the season against East Kilbride for Hamilton Academical to make their first addition - although defender Xavier Tomas' arrival from Lausanne-Sport was the first time they had paid a transfer fee in eight years.

We asked BBC pundit Allan Preston, a man who knows the player agency world inside out, to assess how the clubs have recruited this season.



Preston's report card: Jonny Hayes and Niall McGinn were a massive loss to Aberdeen, but Derek McInnes has signed really well once again and added some good players, such as Greg Stewart on loan and Gary Mackay-Steven.

Key signing: Ryan Christie coming back for a second loan spell from Celtic is especially good business and, now that he knows he will be at Pittodrie for another year, he seems to have the bit between his teeth.

In: Stevie May, forward (Preston North End, undisclosed); Gary Mackay-Steven, midfielder (Celtic, undisclosed); Kari Arnason, defender (Omonia Nicosia); Greg Tansey, midfielder (Inverness Caledonian Thistle); Nicky Maynard, forward (MK Dons). Loan: Greg Stewart, forward (Birmingham City); Ryan Christie, midfielder (Celtic); Dominic Ball, defender (Rotherham United).

Out: Jonny Hayes, midfielder (Celtic, £1.3m); Ryan Jack, midfielder (Rangers); Niall McGinn, forward (Gwangju); Jayden Stockley, forward (Exeter City, £100,000); Ash Taylor, defender (Northampton Town); Peter Pawlett, midfielder (MK Dons); Miles Storey, forward (Partick Thistle, undisclosed); Neil Alexander, goalkeeper (Livingston); Cammy Smith, midfielder (St Mirren); Aaron Lennox, goalkeeper (Raith Rovers); Lawrence Shankland, forward (Ayr United); Robbie Mutch, goalkeeper (Falkirk); Jamie Henry, midfielder (Arbroath); Joe Nuttall, forward; Jamie Henry, forward; Dylan Thomas, midfielder; Aaron Norris, midfielder. Loan: Connor McLennan, forward (Brechin City); Bruce Anderson, forward (Elgin City).

Manager: Derek McInnes (appointed March 2013)

Last season: 2nd

Clive's prediction: 3rd. While they have lost some flair, the Dons probably now have a better squad and, while that won't be enough to eat enough into the large gap between themselves and likely champions Celtic, it will ensure a close battle for second with a heavily financed Rangers.



Preston's report card: Celtic at one stage last season had 31-32 players in their first-team squad, which is far too many. Brendan Rodgers has gradually whittled it down this summer while bringing in a few players of quality.

Key signing: I've watched Olivier Ntcham emerge as a youngster with Manchester City and is a very good player. He will be an excellent addition to the Celtic midfield.

In: Olivier Ntcham, midfielder (Manchester City, £4.5m); Jonny Hayes, midfielder (Aberdeen, £1.3m); Kundai Benyu, midfielder (Ipswich Town, compensation). Loan: Patrick Roberts, midfielder (Manchester City); Odsonne Edouard, forward (Paris Saint Germain).

Out: Emilio Izaguirre, defender (Al-Fayha, undisclosed); Efe Ambrose, defender (Hibernian); Gary Mackay-Steven, midfielder (Aberdeen, undisclosed); Saidy Janko, defender (St Etienne); Logan Bailly, goalkeeper (Mouscron); Paul McMullan, midfielder (Dundee United); Josh Kerr, defender (Brighton & Hove Albion); Aiden Nesbitt, midfielder (MK Dons, undisclosed); Eoghan O'Connell, defender (Bury); Fiacre Kelleher, defender (Oxford United); Conor McManus, midfielder (Greenock Morton); Kris Commons, midfielder; Leo Fasan, goalkeeper; Luke Donnelly, forward. Loan ended: Patrick Roberts, midfielder (Manchester City). Loan: Scott Allan, midfielder (Dundee); Nadir Ciftci, forward (Plymouth Argyle); Sam Wardrop, defender (Dumbarton); Joe Thomson, midfielder (Livingston); Ross Doohan, goalkeeper (Greenock Morton); PJ Crossan, forward (Alloa Athletic).

Manager: Brendan Rodgers (appointed May 2016)

Last season: 1st

Clive's prediction: 1st. It is probably too much to expect Celtic to go on another unbeaten domestic season. However, they obviously feel confident enough that they can secure yet another title without having to break the bank.



Preston's report card: Neil McCann has stayed on after his short spell at the end of last season, has made a number of signings and the foreign guys will take a bit of time to settle. Jack Hendry looks a good addition to the defence and Scott Allan, who lost his way a bit at Rotherham United and Celtic, should be a good signing if he recovers the excellent form he showed with Hibs.

Key signing: Being unable to find a good enough replacement for Kane Hemmings and Greg Stewart was costly for previous Dens boss Paul Hartley and it is not easy with the budget available to most Scottish clubs to find a consistent goalscorer. But Sofien Moussa seems like a bit of a handful, has already started scoring goals and could fit the bill if McCann can keep him healthy and hungry.

In: Glen Kamara, midfielder (Arsenal); Randy Wolters, midfielder (Go Ahead Eagles); Sofien Moussa, forward (Lokomotiv Gorna); Josh Meekings, defender (Inverness Caledonian Thistle); Jack Hendry, defender (Wigan Athletic); Lewis Spence, midfielder (Dunfermline Athletic); Jon Aurtenetxe, defender (Amorebieta); Elliot Parish, goalkeeper (Accrington Stanley); Roarie Deacon, midfielder (Sutton United). Loan: Scott Allan, midfielder (Celtic); AJ Leitch-Smith, forward (Shrewsbury Town).

Out: Rory Loy, forward (Falkirk); Daniel Higgins, defender (Kilmarnock); Yordi Teijsse, forward (Quick Boys); David Mitchell, goalkeeper (Falkirk); Josh Skelly, forward (Arbroath); Matty Allan, defender (Montrose); Tom Hateley, midfielder; Kevin Gomis, defender; Nick Ross, midfielder; Calvin Colquhoun, midfielder; Kyle Clark, midfielder. Loan ended: Henrik Ojamaa, forward (Go Ahead Eagles). Loan: Conor Quigley, defender (Forfar Athletic); Ian Smith, forward (Edinburgh City).

Manager: Neil McCann (appointed April 2017)

Last season: 10th

Clive's prediction: 8th. Sofien Moussa will find the Premiership harder going than the League Cup, but his five goals in four games so far suggest the Tunisian striker could be the man to keep Dundee clear of relegation trouble.

Hamilton Academical

Hamilton Academical

Preston's report card: Hamilton's philosophy is to develop players, promote them to their first team and sell them on. They might get relegated as a result, but their philosophy does not change. They believe they have 20-25 youngsters behind the scenes that have a chance to break through and that's why they have been relatively quiet in the transfer market this summer.

Key signing: Central defender Xavier Tomas is an unknown quantity, but Ryan Fulton is a young Scottish goalkeeper they have high hopes for - and, if Hamilton are going to stay in the Premiership, they need a goalkeeper who is consistently good.

In: Xavier Tomas, defender (Lausanne-Sport, undisclosed); Ryan Fulton, goalkeeper (Liverpool); Antonio Rojano, forward (Real Potosi); Paolo Buzzi, forward (Monza). Loan: Botti Biabi, forward (Swansea City).

Out: Gramoz Kurtaj, midfielder (SHB-Da Nang); Blair Adams, defender (Hartlepool United); Craig Watson, defender (East Fife); Jack Breslin, defender (Clyde); Richard Roy, forward (Broughty Ferry); Alex D'Acol, forward; Jesus Garcia Tena, defender; Danny Seaborne, defender; Conor Scullion, midfielder. Loan ended: Remi Matthews, goalkeeper (Norwich City). Loan: Ryan Tierney, forward (Airdrieonians).

Manager: Martin Canning (appointed January 2015)

Last season: 11th

Clive's prediction: 12th. With just about every club strengthening this summer, Accies will be doing well to avoid automatic relegation unless a few gems emerge quickly from their lauded youth system to save them.

Heart of Midlothian

Heart of Midlothian

Preston's report card: Hearts have recruited players of undeniable ability, with Christophe Berra, Kyle Lafferty and Rafal Grzelak being current internationals. I worry about the lack of pace in their defence, but the nucleus of the squad is good. What they lacked under Ian Cathro was a manager who is able to motivate them.

Key signing: It is a big season for Kyle Lafferty. With Northern Ireland looking to qualify for the World Cup finals, the striker needs to be playing regularly and scoring goals.

In: Kyle Lafferty, forward (Norwich City); Christophe Berra, defender (Ipswich Town); Rafal Grzelak, defender (Korona Kielce); Jon McLaughlin, goalkeeper (Burton Albion); Michael Smith, defender (Peterborough United, nominal); Cole Stockton, forward (Tranmere Rovers); Ross Callachan, midfielder (Raith Rovers, undisclosed); Aiden Kenna, forward (St Patrick's Athletic). Loan: Connor Randall, midfielder (Liverpool); Ashley Smith-Brown, defender (Manchester City); Manuel Milinkovic, midfielder (Genoa).

Out: Ian Cathro, head coach: Bjorn Johnsen, forward (ADO Den Haag, undisclosed); Callum Paterson, defender (Cardiff City, undisclosed); Perry Kitchen, midfielder (Randers); Sam Nicholson, midfielder (Minnesota United); Andraz Struna, defender (New York City); Faycal Rherras, defender (Mechelen); Gavin Reilly, forward (St Mirren); Billy King, midfielder (Dundee United); Jordan McGhee, defender (Falkirk); Dylan Bikey, forward (Doxa Katakopias); Robbie Buchanan, forward (Cowdenbeath); Alexandros Tziolis, midfielder; Tasos Avlonitis, defender; Juwon Oshaniwa, defender; Dale Baxter, midfielder; Zidan Akers, forward. Loan ended: Moha Choulay, midfielder (Stoke City). Loan: Conor Sammon, forward (Partick Thistle); Liam Smith, defender (St Mirren); Nikolay Todorov, forward (Livingston); Ally Roy, forward (Dumbarton); Dario Zanatta, forward (Raith Rovers); Harry Paton, midfielder (Stenhousemuir); Andrew Irving, midfielder (Berwick Rangers); Callum Morrison, midfielder (Stirling Albion); Marcus Godinho, defender (Berwick Rangers).

Manager: Craig Levein (appointed August 2017)

Last season: 5th

Clive's prediction: 6th. Hearts persuaded director of football Craig Levein to take over team affairs after the sacking of Ian Cathro and that should steady the ship at Tynecastle, but having to play early fixtures away from the stadium while the new main stand is completed could be a handicap from which they never fully recover.



Preston's report card: Hibs have signed well this summer and brought in the likes of Steven Whittaker, a versatile player with international pedigree. Neil Lennon's problem will be deciding what his best 11 is.

Key signing: It will be interesting to see if Simon Murray can prove himself at Premiership level. The former Dundee United striker has certainly hit the ground running in the League Cup.

In: Vykintas Slivka, midfielder (Juventus, undisclosed); Efe Ambrose, defender (Celtic); Ofir Marciano, goalkeeper (Ashdod, undisclosed); Danny Swanson, midfielder (St Johnstone); Deivydas Matulevicius, forward (Royal Mouscron); Steven Whittaker, defender (Norwich City); Anthony Stokes, forward (Blackburn Rovers); Simon Murray, forward (Dundee United); Andrew Blake, defender (Wellington Phoenix). Loan: Brandon Barker, midfielder (Manchester City).

Out: Jason Cummings, forward (Nottingham Forest, undisclosed); James Keatings, forward (Dundee United); Fraser Fyvie, midfielder (Dundee United); Chris Humphrey, midfielder (Bury); Jordon Forster, defender (Cheltenham Town); Alex Harris, midfielder (Falkirk); Danny Handling, forward (Dumbarton); Scott Gallacher, goalkeeper (Dumbarton); Aaron Dunsmore, defender (Elgin City); Alasdair Smith, midfielder (Cowdenbeath); Grant Holt, forward; Brian McLean, defender; Jamie Insall, forward. Loan: Sam Stanton, midfielder (Dundee United); Callum Crane, defender (Alloa Athletic); Callum Donaldson, defender (Berwick Rangers); Kevin Waugh, defender (Berwick Rangers); Lewis Allan, forward (Edinburgh City); Sean Mackie, defender (Edinburgh City); Andrew Blake, defender (Edinburgh City); Innes Murray, midfielder (Stenhousemuir).

Head coach: Neil Lennon (June 2016)

Last season: 1st, Championship

Clive's prediction: 4th. Even Rangers found the transition from Championship title winners to top-six contenders difficult last season, but Hibs have already shown they can compete with the best in cup ties last term and have added some players of undoubted quality.



Preston's report card: Kilmarnock now have a proper manager in place with Lee McCulloch and he has recruited some good experience in Kirk Broadfoot and fellow defender Gordon Greer, who will be an excellent signing if he can play enough at the age of 36 on a 3G pitch that saps your legs.

Key signing: It was a surprise that Motherwell let Dom Thomas go. The winger maybe got the jolt he needed by being sent out on loan to Queen of the South and has been on fire at the start of the season.

In: Chris Burke, midfielder (Ross County); Gordon Greer, defender (Blackburn Rovers); Kirk Broadfoot, defender (Rotherham United); Lee Erwin, forward (Leeds United); Cammy Bell, goalkeeper (Dundee United); Alex Samizadeh, forward (Bolton Wanderers); Dom Thomas, midfielder (Motherwell); Stephen O'Donnell, defender (Luton Town); Calum Waters, defender (Alloa Athletic); Daniel Higgins, defender (Dundee); Alan Power, midfielder (Lincoln City).

Out: Aaron Splaine, midfielder (Dunfermline Athletic); Lewis Morrison, forward (St Mirren); Dapo Kayode, defender; Jack Whittaker, midfielder (Cowdenbeath); Jamie Cobain, defender. Loan ended: Kristoffer Ajer, midfielder (Celtic); Conor Sammon, forward (Hearts); Josh Umerah, forward (Charlton Athletic).

Manager: Lee McCulloch (appointed January 2016)

Last season: 8th

Clive's prediction: 7th. Lee McCulloch has added some old heads to his squad that can only suggest a higher league position than last season.



Preston's report card: Motherwell have lost the leadership of Keith Lasley in midfield as he has turned to coaching and will hope that their summer additions have also plugged a weakness in central defence after taking a couple of hammerings last season. But Stephen Robinson has signed some decent players and they have had a good League Cup campaign.

Key signing: Chris Cadden can provide from midfield and Louis Moult can score, so the most important thing for Motherwell this summer was to hold on to both and reject the offers that came in for them.

In: Cedric Kipre, defender (Leicester City); Ellis Plummer, defender (Manchester City); Alex Fisher, forward (Inverness Caledonian Thistle); Deimantas Petravicius, forward (Zaglebie Lubin); Russell Griffiths, goalkeeper (Everton); Craig Tanner, midfielder (Reading); Gael Bigirimana, midfielder (Coventry City); Andy Rose, midfielder (Coventry City); Charles Dunne, defender (Oldham Athletic); Trevor Carson, goalkeeper (Hartlepool United); George Newell, forward (Bolton Wanderers); Dylan King, defender (Oldham Athletic); Peter Hartley, defender (Blackpool); Liam Grimshaw, defender (Preston North End); Rohan Ferguson, goalkeeper (Airdrieonians, undisclosed); Liam Brown, midfielder (Queen's Park).

Out: Ben Heneghan, defender (Sheffield United, undisclosed fee); Dom Thomas, midfielder (Kilmarnock); James McFadden, forward (Queen of the South); Scott McDonald, forward (Dundee United); Craig Samson, goalkeeper (St Mirren); Lionel Ainsworth, midfielder (Plymouth Argyle); Joe Chalmers, defender (Inverness Caledonian Thistle); Keith Lasley, midfielder (retired); Craig Clay, midfielder (Leyton Orient); Dylan Mackin, forward (Livingston); Craig Moore, forward (Ayr United); David Ferguson, midfielder (Ayr United); Stephen Pearson, midfielder; Lee Lucas, midfielder; Tom Fry, midfielder; Jordan Pettigrew, goalkeeper; Ben Heneghan, defender (Sheffield United, undisclosed). Loan ended: Zak Jules, defender (Reading); Oliver Pain, goalkeeper (Sunderland). Loan: Jack McMillan, defender (Livingston); Rohan Ferguson, goalkeeper (Airdrieonians); Peter Morrison, goalkeeper (Clyde).

Manager: Stephen Robinson (appointed March 2017)

Last season: 9th

Clive's prediction: 10th. Northern Irishman Stephen Robinson has built a little English enclave at Fir Park as he has recruited from leagues down south he knows best. League Cup results suggest his side have improved, but they might just find that others have improved more.

Partick Thistle

Partick Thistle

Preston's report card: Thistle have been relatively quiet in the transfer market, but Alan Archibald still has the nucleus of a very good squad. He has brought in Jordan Turnbull, who is a very good footballer, from Coventry City, while Blair Spittal has started the season well having lost his way in a struggling Dundee United side.

Key signing: Liam Lindsay has gone to Barnsley, but he is a different kind of player to Turnbull. Lindsay is a strong centre-half, but Turnbull is a lovely passer of the ball.

In: Miles Storey, forward (Aberdeen, undisclosed); Milan Nitriansky, defender (Bohemians 1905); Niall Keown, defender (Reading, undisclosed); Blair Spittal, midfielder (Dundee United); Paul McGinn, defender (Chesterfield); Jamie Sneddon, goalkeeper (Cowdenbeath). Loan: Jordan Turnbull, defender (Coventry City); Conor Sammon, forward (Hearts).

Out: Liam Lindsay, defender (Barnsley, undisclosed); Mark Ridgers, goalkeeper (Inverness Caledonian Thistle); Ade Azeez, forward (Cambridge United); David Amoo, midfielder (Cambridge United); David Wilson, midfielder (Dumbarton); Michael McMullin, defender (Albion Rovers); Dominic Docherty, midfielder (Queen's Park); Matthew McInally, defender (Cowdenbeath); Sean Welsh, midfielder; Conor Cullen, goalkeeper; Jamie Hall, midfielder; Struan Herd, goalkeeper. Loan ended: Jason Banton, midfielder (Crawley Town). Loan: James Penrice, defender (Livingston); Mark Lamont, midfielder (Clyde).

Manager: Alan Archibald (appointed January 2013)

Last season: 6th

Clive's prediction: 11th. Archibald's Thistle defied predictions last season with a top-six finish, but the margins between sixth and bottom six were so fine that the Maryhill mob might find they are in a struggle at the bottom again due to their inferior playing budget.



Preston's report card: Pedro Caixinha has had a massive turnover of players and Ryan Jack is a good signing. Although Rangers have paid money for them, I am not sure what some of the foreign players will bring, especially when it comes to a cold November night in Dingwall.

Key signing: Bruno Alves should be a positive influence because of his class and standing in the game, although the Portugal centre-half is 35 years old now.

In: Bruno Alves, defender (Cagliari, undisclosed); Graham Dorrans, midfielder (Norwich City, undisclosed); Alfredo Morelos, forward (HJK Helsinki, undisclosed); Ryan Jack, midfielder (Aberdeen); Fabio Cardoso, defender (Vitoria Setubal, undisclosed); Daniel Candeias, midfielder (Benfica, undisclosed); Carlos Pena, midfielder (Guadalajara, undisclosed); Eduardo Herrera, forward (Pumas, undisclosed). Loan: Dalcio, midfielder (Benfica), Aaron Nemane, midfielder (Manchester City); Declan John, defender (Cardiff City).

Out: Barrie McKay, midfielder (Nottingham Forest, £500,000); Martyn Waghorn, forward (Ipswich Town, undisclosed); Joe Garner, forward (Ipswich Town, undisclosed); Rob Kiernan, defender (Southend United, undisclosed); Matt Crooks, midfielder (Northampton Town, undisclosed); Billy Gilmour, midfielder (Chelsea, undisclosed); Jordan Gibson, forward (Bradford City); Philippe Senderos, defender; Clint Hill, defender; Max Ashmore, midfielder; Amin Bouzaig, forward; Sam Jamieson, forward; Josh Jeffries, midfielder; Jason Krones, defender. Loan ended: Emerson Hyndman, midfielder (Bournemouth); Jon Toral, midfielder (Arsenal). Loan: Andy Halliday, midfielder (Gabala); Michael O'Halloran, midfielder (St Johnstone); Harry Forrester, midfielder (AFC Wimbledon); Joe Dodoo, forward (Charlton Athletic); Robby McCrorie, goalkeeper (Berwick Rangers); Kyle Bradley, defender (Clyde).

Manager: Pedro Caixinha (appointed March 2017)

Last season: 3rd

Clive's prediction: 2nd. With the amount of money Pedro Caixinha has been allowed to spend this summer, the Portuguese coach will find his position untenable unless Rangers finish second and narrow the gap between themselves and prospective champions Celtic. But they will face a tough fight to even wrest the runners-up spot from Aberdeen.

Ross County

Ross County

Preston's report card: Ross County had a decent end to last season but have now lost the league's top scorer after Liam Boyce was sold to Burton Albion. We know Dingwall's not the end of the earth, but people down south seem to think it is and County often have to pay more to persuade players to go there, but they have managed to sign Billy Mckay as a replacement.

Key signing: County will hope that Mckay can rediscover the form he showed in his first spell with Inverness after less productive times at Wigan, Dundee United and back at Caley Thistle.

In: Ross Draper, midfielder (Inverness Caledonian Thistle, £100,000); Billy Mckay, forward (Wigan Athletic, undisclosed); Thomas Mikkelsen, forward (Odense); Sean Kelly, defender (AFC Wimbledon); Jim O'Brien, midfielder (Shrewsbury Town, loan to permanent); Tom Grivosti, defender (Bolton Wanderers). Loan: Jamie Lindsay, midfielder (Celtic).

Out: Liam Boyce, forward (Burton Albion, undisclosed); Chris Burke, midfielder (Kilmarnock); Paul Quinn, defender (Dundee United); Ian McShane, midfielder (St Mirren); Chris McLaughlin, defender (Dumbarton); David Brownlie, defender (Airdrieonians); Jay McEveley, defender; Jonathan Franks, forward; Oscar Gobern, midfielder; Matt Hall, defender. Loan ended: Milan Lalkovic, midfielder (Portsmouth). Loan: Greg Morrison, forward (Dumbarton); Mark Foden, goalkeeper (Stirling Albion).

Manager: Jim McIntyre (appointed September 2014)

Last season: 7th

Clive's prediction: 8th. Without chief marksman Liam Boyce, who was the Premiership's top scorer last season with 23 goals, County will find it more difficult to avoid the battle against relegation.

St Johnstone

St Johnstone

Preston's report card: Tommy Wright will hope to again keep St Johnstone in the top six with a minimum of squad changes. Saints will miss Danny Swanson for his goals and ability on the ball, but they will hope that new signing Stefan Scougall can provide that from midfield.

Key signing: Bringing Michael O'Halloran back from Rangers is a good piece of business considering three or four other clubs were interested and it would be a surprise if he was not back scoring goals now that he is under Wright's wing again.

In: Stefan Scougall, midfielder (Sheffield United); Callum Hendry, forward (Blackburn Rovers); Kyle McClean, midfielder (Nottingham Forest); Scott Tanser, defender (Port Vale). Loan: Michael O'Halloran, midfielder (Rangers); Denny Johnstone, forward (Colchester United).

Out: Danny Swanson, midfielder (Hibernian); Tam Scobbie, defender (Dundee United); Connor McLaren, forward (Montrose); George Hunter, forward; Eoghan McCawl, midfielder (Glentoran). Loan: Chris Kane, forward (Queen of the South); Keith Watson, defender (Hartlepool United); Jason Kerr, defender (Queen of the South); Greg Hurst, forward (East Fife); Mark Hurst, goalkeeper (East Fife).

Manager: Tommy Wright (appointed June 2013)

Last season: 4th

Clive's prediction: 5th. St Johnstone keep punching above their weight, but yet another season finishing fourth might just be beyond them thanks to the return of Hibs.

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