It’s Lock-down. You are in the house, in lounge wear, and possibly on the couch in a slouched position.
When your mind isn’t quickly spiralling downwards thinking about the hot mess that Britain and the wider world has fallen into – you might turn your attention to the return of the football season.
Most professional football institutions have come to a grinding halt until the current pandemic has been resolved.
But some major leagues such as the Bundesliga and Premier League are now beginning to train as a team and even staring to play league fixtures.
However, Scotland’s domestic leagues have been a different story.
The outcome of the SPFL’s league reconstruction proposal is still uncertain with seven weeks until the proposed restart, which is forcing some of Scotland’s clubs to release more of their playing staff than usual as a way to reduce costs.
An extreme example of these mass clear-outs has been Queen of the South.
The Dumfries club, in an unprecedented move, have released all but 3 of their playing staff in a bid to survive until fixtures can be played again, and they are not alone.
There are also a number of other clubs in Scotland who have made similar sacrifices for survival such as Dunfermline Athletic and Hamilton Academical.
Because of this, there is going to be a slew of quality players available to sign free for the 2020/2021 season.
Until we can be sure of the restart date, here is a lineup of the best eleven unattached players from release lists from all over the country.
Vaclav Hladky – For the goalkeeper of the out-of-work XI, the only clear choice was the Czech stopper from Paisley.
The St. Mirren keeper was almost instantly linked with a move down south and also with Glasgow Rangers, which speaks volumes about his performances.
Being a large part of the St. Mirren defence, which preserved the club’s premiership status, and also the volume of offers he has received, makes him a stick-on for this team.
Stephen O’Donnell – Scotland international, O’Donnell, was released by Killie after the 2019/2020 season and has reportedly had numerous offers from teams in England after a difficult season under Angelo Alessio’s management.
The Killie right-back cements his place in the team due to his time under Steve Clarke as one of the elite defenders of the Premiership in that era.
Alex Gogic – Earning his place at centre-half is Hamilton Academical stalwart, Gogic.
The Cypriot defender has been one of the major reasons why the Accies have been able to continue to their Premiership story by leading the defence with his large stature.
Ever since being released, the Accies man has been linked with St. Mirren.
Jozo Simunovic – Celtic defender Simunovic joined the hoops in 2015 and while he did not make an immediate impact, he has shown his quality in the latter stages of his Celtic career.
Despite disappointments in Europe for Celtic, the commanding Croat played an important role in Celtic’s 9-in-a-row campaign.
Richard Tait – Being shoe-horned in at left-back is right-sided defender Richard Tait who was recently released by Motherwell.
Being one of the many names that was being touted as a solution to Steve Clarke’s fullback problems last year means that he would still be a solid pick-up for any Scottish side.
Jonny Hayes – The second player in the XI to be released by Celtic, Hayes made his name in Scottish football playing for Aberdeen.
Hayes was one of the key players which contributed to the Don’s title-challenges in the first half of the decade, which earned him a move to Parkhead.
Any team in search of a hard-working, creative winger should look no further than the Northern Ireland international.
Vykintas Slivka – Energetic midfielder Slivka was one player that most Hibees fans were sad to see go.
The Lithuanian spent three years at Hibernian, however the ex-Juventus youngster is currently available on a free.
Charlie Trafford – Released by Inverness Caledonian Thistle at the end of their second-place finish in Championship, the large midfielder has been linked with a Premiership move.
Known for his physical presence, he will be undoubtedly looking to make an impression in the top-flight.
Oliver Bozanic – Hearts have had a season to forget in almost every aspect, and with their financial troubles they have been forced to release a large number of players.
One of those is one of their stand-out performers of the season – Oliver Bozanic.
The Australian has filled a number of roles for the Gorgie club, however he comfortably plays on the right side for the unemployed XI and would be able to play for most Scottish sides.
Steven Lawless – After being relegated to the Championship with Partick Thistle, Lawless earned his move to the premiership with newly promoted Livingston.
Scoring 11 goals in 38 games this season and helping Livingston to an unprecedented fifth place finish means he will be top of shortlists over the country.
Tony Andreu – Tony Andreu is a name which is mostly associated with Hamilton Academical and has been released by the New Douglas Park club.
Andreu has been a nuisance for both Championship and Premiership defences while playing in the red and white stripes.
St. Mirren have again been linked with the Frenchman to the disdain of the Accies faithful.
Here is the completed line-up in all it’s subjective glory.
These are the players which will most-likely be top of manager’s short-lists whenever a restart proposal can be accepted.
Disagree? Make sure to make your personal XI and send it in to Brig’s social channels.