So I don't have the time to blog much these days. But this series has been going on since 2012/13 and I'm worried that the world will end if I stop. Also, people tend to enjoy it; there's something so very Scottish Football about fans complaining that their team's duffer isn't at the top of my list.
The ten previous winners, by the way:
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)
2021/22: Matty Longstaff (Aberdeen)
I feel like I really should shoehorn a goalkeeper into top spot this season, so I have a proper starting XI of calamities (one with an awful lot of forwards, mind).
Let's start the countdown from 25 to 11...
|25= DILAN MARKANDAY & PATRIK MYSLOVIC (ABERDEEN)
My final list had 26 names so I'll include these two January arrivals together. Markanday was signed on January deadline day by the Dons, but lord knows why. The lad has at the time of writing played just seven minutes of football for the club and probably has splinters in his backside from sitting on the bench. The winger was considered quite the prospect at Spurs and then Blackburn, but his loan from the Rovers has proven to be a waste of his and everyone's time. The Dons have an option to make Myslovic's loan signing permanent but since the Slovakian has only managed a handful of sub appearances since arriving in January it seems unlikely they will do so. I can neither confirm or deny any rumours that there may be a few more Aberdeen players on this list...
|24. ROLANDO AARONS (MOTHERWELL)
Played 53 minutes of football over three sub appearances. Got injured. Went home. That about sums up Aarons' second spell at Motherwell, which was a shame because I remember a few flashes from him when he first pitched up at Fir Park in 2020.
|23. JAIR TAVARES (HIBERNIAN)
Hibs keep bigging up Jair's attitude in training and performances for the reserve team, which has a feeling of 'damning with faint praise' about it. To be honest, I think we all expected rather bigger things from a Portugal U19 international signed from Benfica who has been limited to only a handful of brief cameos off the bench since August. Either he's far more a 'one for the future' than we assumed (they did give him a contract till 2026) or it just isn't happening.
|22. JORDY HIWULA (ROSS COUNTY)
When Hiwula was signed by County, there were plenty of Doncaster fans on social media suggesting that they were glad to see the back of a striker who had scored just once for them and whose workrate had often disappointed. That sounded like sour grapes after Hiwula scored three goals in the League Cup group stages...but he has hit the net just once since then. The January arrivals of Eamonn Brophy and Simon Murray have pretty much bumped him out of first team contention.
|21. SCOTT BITSINDOU (LIVINGSTON)
A typical low risk, obscure Livingston signing, Congolese midfielder Bitsindou was signed from the Belgian second tier. He was trusted with just one minute of league action for Livi before being loaned to Arbroath in September though, and given he's 27 next month it's safe to say it wasn't for his development. He has had his good and bad moments in the Championship (the latter mostly when deputising in central defence) but injuries have limited his action in the last few months.
|20. TOYOSI OLUSANYA (ST. MIRREN)
After a few League Cup outings, injury restricted Olusanya to just one substitute appearance for St. Mirren - in January - where he was himself substituted after eleven minutes. Shortly after that he was loaned to Arbroath where he has managed a solitary goal so far. One suspects he may not see out the second year of his two year deal in Paisley.
|19. OLLY CRANKSHAW (MOTHERWELL)
"Olly is exactly the profile of player we need at the minute" enthused Stevie Hammell after signing him in January. "He will excite fans with his style of play". Crankshaw, who had an unimpactful loan spell at Dundee a few years back, has not exactly lived up to Hammell's expectations and has been out of the team since Stuart Kettlewell took over. Maybe he has been injured, but if he has been he is not important enough for anyone to say so.
|18. CALLUM ROBERTS (ABERDEEN)
Roberts cost Aberdeen £100,000 and has so far managed all of four sub appearances due to ongoing problems with a hamstring injury. He still has two years on his current deal so I suppose he might be salvageable?
|17. GRAHAM CAREY (ST. JOHNSTONE)
St Johnstone fans on Twitter made a compelling case for the veteran midfielder's inclusion: "started ok but the last 4 months have been a bit of a nightmare"; "his high point of the season was losing rock, paper, scissors"; "Carey has been really poor, but also Callum Davidson's obsession with trying to find a way to fit him into the team has kind of doubled down on it too". So I'll take their word for it.
|16. OLIVER ABILDGAARD (CELTIC)
A rare miss for Celtic's recruitment team. The Dane's loan from Rubin Kazan was supposed to be for the whole season but was cut short in January due to lack of gametime. Abildgaard made nine sub appearances and zero impact; he is now at Verona in Italy where he counts ex-Hibs man Josh Doig as a teammate.
|15. JAKE EASTWOOD (ROSS COUNTY)
Gets ranked higher because he's been on this list before - two years ago after a nightmare loan at Kilmarnock where his infamous solitary league appearance saw him gift a goal to Hibs and then go off injured at half-time. That's one more league appearance than he managed in Dingwall where he became the latest goalie to completely fail to displace Ross Laidlaw from the starting lineup. The loan deal was cut short in January. Still technically Sheffield United's player despite having gone out on about a billion loans so far in his career.
|14. SHAYDEN MORRIS (ABERDEEN)
Another long term contract (four years!) and another long-term injury. Morris has made a single start for Aberdeen and has barely played since October (and not at all in 2023 so far) because of a major hamstring issue. Maybe he'll be like a new signing next season. Or maybe it'll be like he never existed...
|13. ARNAUD DJOUM (DUNDEE UNITED)
There's a fine line between 'experienced' and 'past it' and the evidence is that Djoum has crossed it. Liam Fox will argue that he brought in the 33 year old partly for his influence and attitude, but what United needed was an enforcer in midfield; sadly the Cameroonian is a shadow of the player who strutted about the middle of the park for Hearts a few years back.
|12. AIDEN MCGEADY (HIBERNIAN)
Now McGeady did start looking the part in the New Year having recovered from an ankle injury that sidelined him until the World Cup break. But then he wrecked his hamstring in February and is done for the season. Given he'll have been on a decent wage, the veteran has simply not been decent value. And going to watch Celtic B one weekend instead of his current club wasn't a good look.
|11. ESMAEL GONCALVES (LIVINGSTON)
Sadly the Goncalves of 2023 is nowhere near the Goncalves of 2013 who inspired St. Mirren to League Cup glory. The Guinea-Bissau forward was in fact exactly what we all suspected of a guy who has spent the last few years playing in Uzbekistan, Iran and Bangladesh. He managed more red cards (one) than goals (zero) for Livi and pitched up at Raith Rovers on loan in February where he at least managed a debut goal against Motherwell in the cup.
The top ten will be up some time in the next few days/weeks...
Lawrie Spence has whinged about Scottish football on Narey's Toepoker since September 2007. He has a life outside this blog. Honestly.