Ten years I've been doing this. Man, there have been some duffers. Here, for the record, are the nine previous 'winners':
2012/13: Rory Boulding (Kilmarnock)
2013/14: Stephane Bahoken (St. Mirren)
2014/15: Jim Fenlon (Ross County)
2015/16: Rodney Sneijder (Dundee United)
2016/17: Joey Barton (Rangers)
2017/18: Eduardo Herrera (Rangers)
2018/19: Umar Sadiq (Rangers)
2019/20: Madis Vihmann (St. Johnstone)
2020/21: Shane Duffy (Celtic)
Here we go for year 10, with the countdown from 25 to 11.
|24= LIAM SHAW (CELTIC)
|24= OSAZE URGHOGHIDE (CELTIC)
The duo joined Celtic from Sheffield Wednesday, both costing compensation of around £300,000. With about forty Championship appearances between them, the young pair clearly have potential but they were signed before Ange Postecoglu pitched up. Both were trusted with a single start for the club - in a Europa League dead rubber - and both were loaned out in January. Shaw can't get into Motherwell's starting XI, but Urhoghide is at least playing regularly in Belgium. Neither have a future at Celtic.
|23 MICH'EL PARKER (MOTHERWELL)
This writer had actually heard of Parker before he pitched up at Motherwell, having won the National League South in Football Manager 2020 with him at centre-back. The youngster, who'd remarkably been on the books of Arsenal, Liverpool and West Ham at various times, was probably a low-cost, low-risk signing but he made the bench for three League Cup games in July and then was never seen in a matchday squad again. After his contract expired in January he signed for Linfield but can't get a game for them either.
|22 COREY PANTER (DUNDEE)
Given Dundee couldn't defend worth a damn, it says something that Panter still couldn't get a game. His only league start was on Boxing Day, though he played - and scored - in both the League Cup and for their Colts side in the Challenge Cup. Luton recalled him in January due to lack of game time.
|21 YOSUKE IDEGUCHI (CELTIC)
Ideguchi looks worse because Ange Postecoglu's other Japanese signings have been so outstanding, but £850,000 is a lot of money for a benchwarmer. He has had some injuries but even when fit he seems to be well down the midfield pecking order - even behind James McCarthy! - and there's no sign of that changing soon. His previous foray into British football at Leeds United was a flop and so far his time in Glasgow hasn't been much better.
|20 CURTIS MAIN (ST. MIRREN)
St. Mirren surely knew what they were getting from Main's previous spells at Motherwell and Aberdeen - a strong, willing runner up front who will press centre-backs all day...and who doesn't score many goals. Main seemed to prove the doubters wrong by hitting the net in his first two matches for the Buddies in the League Cup, but has managed one goal in the 29 games since then and finds himself behind New Zealander rookie Alex Greive in the pecking order now.
|19 ALEX ROBERTSON (ROSS COUNTY)
Ross County fans were entitled to have reasonably high expectations for this loan signing for Manchester City, who is an England under-18 international; The Guardian even profiled him as one of the most exciting 60 prospects in the world in the 2020 edition of their 'next generation' series! For whatever reason, it didn't work out in Dingwall. One start and five sub appearances later, Robertson returned south.
|18 NIALL MCGINN (DUNDEE)
It turns out that 77 is McGinn's squad number, not his age. Unfortunately the once lethal forward is rather past his best, which makes it strange that Dundee would offer him an 18 month deal and expect him to create or score the goals that would keep them up. At the time of writing his last league goal was in March 2020.
|17 TIM AKINOLA (DUNDEE UNITED)
The midfielder was signed on loan from Arsenal in January, was subbed at half-time in his only appearance and then picked up an injury that caused his loan to be terminated early. That went well.
|16 HARRY PANAYIOTOU (LIVINGSTON)
Livingston do like signing an interesting-sounding striker from the English lower leagues. Panayiotou - a St. Kitts international via his mother, who was born in England and has a Greek Cypriot father, making him (I think) eligible for four national teams - certainly sounds interesting. Unfortunately his 12 goals for Aldershot the previous year seem to have been an outlier. He made five sub appearances for Livi and was let go in January, 6 months into a two-year deal with the option of a third, and returned to his old club, where he claimed that things hadn't worked out in Scotland because the environment at Livingston was 'toxic', which seems harsh; I know those roundabouts get frustrating after a while, but still...
|15 THEO BAIR (ST. JOHNSTONE)
Sure, maybe Bair will come good; Callum Davidson has made a big song and dance about how he just needs time to acclimatize, as he did with Guy Melamed (with some justification) and Eetu Vertainen (less so). As of now, he is a Canadian international striker who cost a significant fee for a club of St. Johnstone's size and who has so far failed to start a game or score a goal.
|14 JAY CHAPMAN (DUNDEE)
James McPake didn't half big up Chapman, a Canadian international with plenty of MLS experience at Toronto and Inter Miami, as a real coup of a signing in January. The midfielder has so far played 35 minutes of first team action over two substitute appearances and has vanished from the bench in recent weeks. He might be injured, but if he is no-one is saying so.
|13 NATHAN WOOD (HIBERNIAN)
Summed up pretty much perfectly by journalist Craig Fowler:
The centre-back Hibs signed who played once and was immediately deemed less reliable than a 36yo Darren McGregor.— Craig Fowler (@craigfowler86) April 1, 2022
I can’t even remember his name. I wanna say Nathan Wood but I might be plucking that from thin air.
Wood went back to parent club Middlesbrough before the end of November.
|12 AMAD DIALLO (RANGERS)
Manchester United paid around £20m for Diallo two years ago, so one would expect him to have rather more impact in a diddy league like ours...and when he scored just five minutes into his debut in Dingwall it looked like Rangers had found a gem. So much for that. The Ivorian was hooked at half-time four days later in the 3-0 thumping by Celtic and he hasn't been trusted for anything other than cameos off the bench since. One suspects Diallo, still only 19, will probably still go on to better things than the vast majority of his Ibrox contemporaries but this is has been a waste of a half season for him and probably of a loan fee by Rangers.
|11 JAHMAL HECTOR-INGRAM (ST. JOHNSTONE)
St. Johnstone went on a striker binge at the end of the January window, with former Derby forward Hector-Ingram one of the many brought in. And after sitting on the bench a handful of times he seems to have disappeared into thin air.