WHILST January proved to be a slow month for topflight Scottish clubs, the lower leagues of Scottish football have delivered a month of intriguing wheelings and dealings as teams fought in a bid to add the finishing touches to their squads.
At the bottom of the Championship table, strugglers Partick Thistle have brought in a much-needed new strike force of Zak Rudden and Brian Graham. Both players have the pedigree required to help Thistle survive another season in the league.
Rudden was a star performer in what was an abysmal Falkirk side in last year’s Championship, with the former Rangers youngster netting 12 goals for the Bairns; whilst Graham has well over 100 career goals to date, including several in the topflight.
Other notable business in the Championship includes Dunfermline’s addition of tricky winger Dom Thomas and Dundee United’s retention of Scottish internationalist Lawrence Shankland, surely securing the league title in the process. Play-off contenders Dundee have brought in the experienced defender Christophe Berra, as well as the versatile Christie Elliott as they look to bounce straight back up to the Premiership.
Moving to League 1, Airdrieonians have been active in the window to keep pressure on Raith and Falkirk at the top of the table. The impressive left back Leon McCann has been signed permanently from Hamilton, after his release from the Premiership club. Former League 1 top scorer Andy Ryan has re-joined Airdrie on loan from Dunfermline and could prove to be a vital signing.
Second place Falkirk have also been busy, bringing in 4 new players, with attacking midfielder Josh Todd looking the pick of the bunch.
However, the Bairns’ best piece of business this window is keeping hold of Declan McManus who has scored 19 goals already this season. The forward could be the difference between first and second place for Falkirk.
First place Raith Rovers have signed experienced forward Steven MacLean which could prove to be a shrewd piece of business at the top of the division, if he can form a partnership with exciting youngster Kieron Bowie.
League 2 has also seen some interesting moves, at both ends of the table. 7th place Queens Park have used new boss Ray McKinnon’s contacts to bring in Championship-quality players, such as Craig Slater, Ross MacLean and Peter Grant. Grant in particular appears to be an impressive signing, having played and scored in a Scottish Cup final as recently as 2015.
Table-toppers Cove Rangers have been active in the market to replace the departing Declan Glass by bringing in lower league legend Rory McAllister. The striker, scorer of over 250 career goals, has signed a three-and-a-half-year deal with the Aberdeen club, which should help secure them promotion to League 1 in their first season as an SPFL club.
With only 13 league games remaining for many Scottish lower-league sides, new signing will need to hit the ground running if they are to help their teams achieve their various goals.
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