As the delayed season finally draws near, clubs have finalised the squads they will be using for the season ahead.
Although squads can be altered in January, the ‘summer’ transfer window is always vital in bringing in the right quality of players.
The elephant in the room, COVID-19, has created some unique and unusual situations in Scottish lower leagues as players decide whether or not they can commit to full time football for this season.
With that in mind, here are some of the best transfers made in pre-season in the Scottish Championship, League One and League Two
The attacking midfielder shocked many back in September when it was announced that he was returning to League One side Falkirk, the team he started his career with. Most recently Alston has plied his trade in the Scottish Premiership with St Johnstone and latterly Hamilton.
Alston is direct, hardworking and a player with an eye for goal. The perfect combination for a fans favourite.
Whilst Alston has had issues with injuries in the past couple of seasons, he will be a figurehead for Falkirk’s promotion campaign in League One and is likely to notch a number of goals and assists for The Bairns.
Queen’s Park have certainly been splashing the cash this summer, with some impressive Championship-quality signings. Bob McHugh and Louis Longridge look strong additions for the Hampden side, but former Dundee United striker Simon Murray is the pick of the bunch.
The forward, who also had a spell at Hibernian, has a proven track record of scoring goals in Scotland’s second tier, so he will almost certainly be deadly in Scotland’s fourth tier.
Most recently Murray played for Bidvest Swifts in South Africa and will be hoping to use his experience abroad to fire Queen’s Park to promotion.
Championship side Dunfermline are another team who have had a successful transfer window, bringing in former Scotland international Stephen Whittaker.
Whittaker, who has spent much of his career in the Scottish Premiership, is adept enough to play across the entire backline as well as in midfield. The Pars were in need of a player to replace ‘hardman’ Paul Paton, and the Fife side have certainly upgraded from their former captain.
Whittaker will add experience of winning to a relatively inexperienced Dunfermline side who will be looking to make the Play-Offs this season. If they are to do that, Whittaker will be central to their chances.
Arguably if Craig Gordon was playing regularly of the past couple of seasons, he would be in contention for a game for Scotland. A career which has been famously hampered by injury still features a spell in the English Premier League, 77 European appearances and 54 international caps.
A keeper of such illustrious pedigree is just what Hearts need, given the issues they have faced in that position over the past number of seasons, and given that Gordon started his career at the Gorgie club, the move seems a perfect fit.
Hearts are almost certain to win the Championship this season, and Craig Gordon gives The Jambos a solid base to build on.
Last but not least, Stirling Albion’s pickup of Andy Ryan looks to be one of the best pieces of business in League Two this off-season.
Ryan, who was League One’s top goalscorer in the 2016/17 season, never got much a chance to show his talent at Dunfermline Athletic, despite The Pars paying a fee for the player. The striker looked far more at home back at Airdrieonians last season, where he has had the most productive spells of his career to date.
Despite his issues at Championship level, Ryan will be a tasty addition for The Binos who will be looking at the Play-Offs as a realistic goal this season.
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