2016/17 Player Ratings

Jamie Langfield –  An absolute howler of a mistake against Dumbarton seemed certain at one point to be one of the key reasons Saints would be relegated, but it turned out nothing more than one of the many clangers that have haunted the man nicknamed the same for seasons, but this was before we realised he was related to the ancient King of Alba, and was able to translate old episodes of Dotaman for Ryan Hardie.

That mistake against Dumbarton was minutes after the keeper had pulled off the save of the season, but hardly anyone remembers these stops. He semi-retired after the match to concentrate on coaching, and played just once more this campaign, but had a key role in gaining a point for Saints that day at Dunfermline and proved what a great professional and team player he was by publically backing both his successors after this. (6/10)

Scott Gallagher – In and out the side more times than Alex Rae checking for updates each hour on ‘Follow Follow’, it was actually difficult to tell if Gallagher was competent or not. He flapped against Morton costing us two points; however he did make defining contributions in our first two wins of the season before Jack Ross decided the 3-0 defeat against Queen of the South in early January was the final straw for the keeper and he soon moved to Hibs, where he couldn’t even get a game when Neil Lennon played the reserves against Raith Rovers. Not the worse keeper ever to play for Saints, that’s for sure. (5)

Billy O’Brien – Seemed to define everything about the players brought in by the manager in January. Appeared to absolutely love playing for the club and that in itself was a breath of fresh air after the first four months of the season. In fact ‘The Fish’ seemed to be more enthusiastic about playing for Saints than Alex Rae is to start a sentence with ‘Listen’.

The ‘keeper had some fine games and big moments but also had some shaky ones which was fine as he is a young and seemed to care.

His debut was memorable for some fine saves, but it was his fantastic point blank double stop against Hibernian in the 2-0 win on the 1st of March that was more crucial than any other. The big Welshman could be back next season, and played in 80% of the matches we gained a clean sheet in. (7 ½)

Jason Naismith – Was sold to Ross County when his form seemed to be picking up again, but even before his injury Naismith hadn’t impressed for a long time, although the turnaround in managers would not have helped. Along with the vast majority of players he struggled for long spells at the beginning of the season, although his effort was never in question. In my opinion following his departure he was not missed and we have better options in that position now. (5)

Gary Irvine – The right back has been compared to both Cafu and Dennis Irwin over the years by some of the most appalling people in the history of Scottish football; Dundee supporters and Alex Rae. Irvine was hung out to dry by Rae’s allergy to signing a left back (obviously he couldn’t find one that had played for Rangers previously) so he was a regular at that position for almost a full calendar year.

The decision in itself did the team or Irvine no good, but his effort and application were always faultless and following the sale of Naismith he moved to his natural position of right back in February and was undoubtedly the most improved player at the club from then on delivering some exceptional performances as the team fought back from the brink. (7 ½)

Andy Webster – In many ways I felt sorry for Webster this season.  Clearly time had caught up with him and he was not good enough to play at this level any more.  However with injuries blighting the centre half position, Alex Rae and then Jack Ross were forced to play the ex-Hearts man for spells this season, but he looked more out of depth than Tommy Craig at a football management conference.

Regardless of these struggles, I believe Webster always tried his best despite a running style so casual the club must have dreaded any random drugs test for the centre half.  He does however get a bonus point for his substitute appearance against Ayr United in the 6-2 win when he seemed intent on trolling Farid El Alagui for the last 5 minutes. (3)

Jack Baird – There is something about big Jack that I quite like, and I believe given time he could become a fine centre half for the club. Another player who has struggled with the number of managers appointed at the club, despite only making his debut in 2014, the defender has played under six bosses the majority of whom were not fit to manage the club.

Started the season well, scoring a couple of goals in the League Cup, but as the season unfolded like almost everyone else he struggled and lost his place, but not before he rattled the veteran cannibal Lee Miller following the mutations nibble, and was red carded.

Other injuries in the side led him to retaining his place later in the season, and he looked back to his best as the side clinched safety. (7)

Gary MacKenzie – On paper he looked like a fine signing by Alex Rae, but in reality he was much much better than this, and in my opinion big Mac is the best centre half to play for the club in the last twenty five years. Initially struggled with injuries, perhaps his importance to the side meant he was played when not fully fit (similar to Norrie McWhirter) but eventually Jack Ross turned up and managed this intelligently and he played as key a role as anyone in keeping the club up.

Solid in the air and on the deck, he also became prolific in the opposition penalty box with a simple pre-rehearsed routine where Mallan floated the ball to him and he attacked it like an unleashed animal, netting him five definite goals since Hogmanay and possibly six depending on who you think scored the third against Raith Rovers in the 5-0 match.

However, it was at the back that he excelled, and his performance against Morton in the 4-1 win was as dominant as you are likely to see in an absolute defensive masterclass. Rumoured to be so physically strong he can lift Lawrence Shankland off the ground. (9)

Ben Gordon – Signed by Alex Rae, and then bizarrely loaned out to Jack Ross’ Alloa amid rumours he had fallen out with the manager, perhaps the word ‘Sevco’ was uttered and he was banished from training.

When he did return and finally got into the side he looked decent, but injury practically ended his season in December and his contract will not be renewed next term. He did score a crucial equalizer at Palmerston in our first win of the season. (5)

Harry Davis – Sounds like he should a Jazz pianist, Harry Spencer Davis Jr, but turns out he is a fine defender. Signed by Jack Ross from Crewe in the final hours of the transfer window, and although he only played six league matches due to injury he scored twice in them, and three in total including the goal that silenced Parkhead for an hour.  His biggest contribution however was the fact the team got three clean sheets in these six league matches, most impressive as we only collected six in the whole season. Would have scored much higher had he not been injured. (7)

Stelios Demetriou – Maverick is the most common word used in regards to the full back, and he undoubtedly is, but his ability as a footballer should not be underestimated either. Versatile, two footed, good stamina, skilful and very tidy in possession makes me wonder why people concentrate on his alleged defensive weakness, and not the many positives.

Defensively he is not that bad either, perhaps in general his decision making could be better, but he’s as good in the tackle as any full back we have had in the past four seasons. Plus we discovered after Cappilelow he liked to eat a full pizza after the match, a dangerous thing to do when Lawrence Shankland was lurking about, and that makes him perhaps the bravest player in Scotland.

Sensational performances against Hibs, Morton and Ayr United endeared him to the support and hopefully we will see him again next season. (8)

Adam Eckersley – Another January signing, and although he doesn’t have the attacking attributes of Stelios, he is solid, reliable and consistently good, the sort of player we have been really been missing for several seasons.

Ecks has that look about him that you wouldn’t want to mess with, I reckon he could be a bit of a martial arts expert and would like to see him prove this next season on Lee Miller. I have no evidence whatsoever that this is true, just a hunch.

Pleasingly has signed a two year extension so we will get see the best of him in the years to come, and see if he actually is a Bruce Lee clone.  (7)

Callum Gallacher – Had a good end to 2014/15 season in terms of goals, and certainly seems like a composed finisher when presented with the opportunity, but was played mainly on the right wing during his time at the club, despite possessing the close control of a water sprinkler.

This season, neither Alex Rae nor Jack Ross fancied him, which makes me wonder why former Rangers player and supporter Alex Rae resigned the former Rangers player and supporter at all.

Galzo was released in January to warm Dumbarton’s bench. He gets an extra point for not being Ryan Hardie. (3)

Tom Walsh – The winger defied his Murray Park coaching by being two footed and generally half decent, so was freed upon his return to Govan as punishment.

Before that he had some good matches in a Saints shirt, scoring two important late goals against Ayr and Falkirk, but he didn’t seem to be a Jack Ross player and barely featured at all under the new boss.  (5)

Lewis Morgan – After featuring sporadically for the past two seasons, this was his breakthrough campaign and the Greenock born youngster didn’t disappoint with a series of outstanding performances including the period where almost everyone on the park in a Saints shirt was having a crisis.

My own personal choice for player of the season, the full backs in the division must have nightmares about facing him, none more so than David Gray of Hibernian, who in the 2-0 victory for Saints on 1st March, Morgan beat more times than the amount of fag ends Ian McCall had in his ashtray after the 6-2 match.

Morgan is very two footed with loads of pace, and has bags of skill to go with it; the youngster is destined for the top. Is the only good thing to come out of Greenock since Tommy Bryceland. (9)

Stephen Mallan – In terms of technique, Mallan is the best graduate from the youth academy definitely this century, and for a considerable period before. Apart from a period under Gary Teale, the youngster suffered badly from being not properly used by several managers before Jack Ross prompted an utterly sensational last third of the season from the midfielder, peaking with that goal against Raith Rovers

Before this he had been carrying the midfield almost singlehandedly for months and this adversely affected his performances, but despite this he was easily still the most creative player in the side and was taken a bit for granted by a section of the support.

It will feel like Jimi Hendrix playing guitar for Busted when we watch him play for a club like Barnsley, once again proving the vast financial chasm between Scottish and English football is about as fair as Alex Rae being allowed to pick your starting XI for ten months. (9)

Kyle Magennis – Not only the surprise, but one of the highlights of the season, after Jack Ross introduced him to the fist team during the period the new boss was discovering some of the so called midfield players we had on our books were about as useful as a pair of jaggy nettle boxer shorts.

Another two footed versatile product of our Youth Academy, young Kyle went from strength to strength as the season unfolded and grew superbly into the right midfield role showing both tremendous pace and skill in the process. Played directly against Kieran Tierney in the Celtic match and made him look as ordinary as Willie Rennie in a suit.

Won a few young player of the year awards and senior ones are bound to follow. Is destined to be sold to some dross like Colchester for £50k and a considerable sell on fee. (8)

Rocco Quinn – Was injured against Livingston in the very first competitive match of the season, and his importance to the side became something of almost mythical proportions as the midfield struggled incredibly without him, I’m sure I read on Black & White Army that Quinn was actually unavailable as he was on an aid mission to Africa where he was healing sick children merely by intercepting footballs and passing them to anyone on that continent bar Kyle Hutton.

In all seriousness though, Quinn was badly missed during this period and this may have helped contribute to Alex Rae being sacked, so thanks for taking one for team Rocco, and an extra point for that alone.

Came back briefly and got injured again, but it is unknown if he will be offered a new contract at the club, but Rocco is certainly good enough when fit and his low score is only due to lack of matches. (5)

Kyle Hutton – Composed, strong in the tackle, great engine, roaming playmaker; these are all attributes that will never ever be associated with Hutton. His style of play was once described as ‘Frankenstein without the urgency’, and his passing so slack fans were issued with hard hats on entrance to the stadium, but we could have done with blindfolds at that point in the season.

Hutton was very much one of Alex Rae’s men, but Jack Ross had him figured out within three and a half games and he was soon sent out on loan to Airdrie. However as he is still contracted to Saints he will be back next season, but in all honesty Jack Ross is more likely to pick Craig Levein than the ex-Rangers man. Gets a point for one of his wayward passes hitting Jim Duffy. (1)

Stephen McGinn – His signing was absolutely crucial to the club staying up, and he was the catalyst for the great form that followed primarily as he led by example and that had been badly missing, but obviously he is a fine central midfield player in his own right.

Seems determined to win something with the club, and he may well get his wish soon enough, but nobody will ever forget his contribution to the survival effort this campaign, and has everything it takes to confirm his status as a legend over the coming seasons.

Also went head to head with his brother John on two occasions, with Saints winning one and drawing the other, meaning he can rip into his sibling with more force than a wayward Steven Thompson spear. (8)

Kyle McAllister – Like his namesake Magennis, was introduced to the side regularly once Alex Rae was gone and Jack Ross needed some actual footballers in the side. I personally really enjoyed watching the youngster play and he had a fabulous array of passing for a seventeen year old as well as an impressive turn of pace.

Was disappointingly sold to Derby County in the January window, but the club utilised the money expertly to sign several other players crucial to the survival bid. (7)

Craig Storie – Came in on loan from Aberdeen, and looked decent until he lost his place to Stephen McGinn and barely featured afterwards. Did show good flashes in the matches he appeared in, but it is hard to say if he has a future at this level, however he was still miles ahead of Hutton. (5)

Pal Fjelde – An intriguing signing at the time, but I don’t remember the Norwegian playing his natural holding position on many occasions, and he seemed to be mainly utilised at right back, where he looked a little bit lost unsurprisingly as he had never played there before. Had the lucky blue carrier bag that we will always be grateful for. (5)

Josh Todd – Surprisingly signed from Dumbarton in January, but sat mainly on the bench and didn’t get a lot of game time, however scored a quite magnificent goal at Tannadice near the end of the season and this may be a glimpse of what he is capable of, and has signed a years extension. Hard to say his name when you are hammered. (5)

Cammy Smith – If the loan signings earlier in the season were memorable mainly due to having poor attitudes, then Smith was the complete opposite. He was enthusiastic, driven, and hardworking but above all a very good player who I would personally love to see back at Paisley soon.

Another player who was instrumental in the club turning around the season, his work ethic and general ability put some of the imposters before him to shame.

He is the sort of player my Saints supporting Dad would call a ‘buzzbomb’, which I think means he tries hard and is quick, but could also be a thirty year wind up he has been playing on me. (8)

David Clarkson – Always tried his best in a Saints shirt, but struggled to have any kind of positive impact, although most players did until February. If Smith is a ‘buzzbomb’ and that is an actual thing, then Clarkson would be a ‘flapbomb’, which definitely isn’t a thing.

Scored a crucial goal at Dumbarton in what has turned out to be his last ever match for Saints as he suffered a serious injury in the week after at training, and we wish him well for the future.  (4)

John Sutton – Scored some absolutely crucial goals during the season, none more so than the opener at Somerset Park in February. At times during the first half of the season Sutton appeared to be the only striker at the club either trying or capable of doing a job, yet incredibly Alex Rae seemed to use him more from the bench as his Rangers mates sauntered about the park being as useful as David Farrell’s stats man, which must have really annoyed Sutton as much as it annoyed us.

Has now played a significant part in two of the most spectacular relegation escapes in the clubs history after his role at Motherwell in 2007, and as he is under contract next season should be on hand to help build on the strong end to the season. (8)

Rory Loy – Knocked back ‘high flying Morton’ for Saints in January, when the minnows were second top and Saints bottom of the league, proving that Loy has intelligence and foresight far beyond the average footballer, either that or it just made sense as there is a gap between the reputation and statuses of the clubs wider than David Hopkins teeth.

Loy was on the bench for a spell after arriving, probably studying for his MENSA entrance exam, but finished the season very well scoring and assisting in some vital goals and is another I would like to see back at the club next season, however as he is under contract at Dundee so this might not happen. Impossible to say his name when hammered.  (7 ½)

Ryan Hardie – Where to start? We were supposed to be getting a dynamic all round forward that would score for fun at this level, instead we got a petulant, lazy, disinterested player who was about as lively as a sunken ship and as prolific as nice stories about migrant workers in the Daily Mail. I’ve seen slugs cover an area of grass with more purpose than the so called forward.

Hardie had the poorest attitude I have ever seen from a player; there are foaming at the mouth Morton supporters that care more about Saints than he seemed to, plus he wasn’t very good. Was sent back to the hub of useless young players, Murray Park, where he immediately passed their re-entry exam by failing to control any of the 100 footballs fired at him by a laughing Alex Rae. Lucky to get zero. (0)

Lawrence Shankland – Some players grow into a season, while others just grow out of their shorts. Rumour has it the club saved a considerable sum on clothes pegs when they no longer had to hang up his massive shirt to dry, but at least Shankland tried when he played for Saints.

He did however seem to be completely devoid of any confidence, I guess being dropped for Ryan Hardie would do that, and in the league nothing seemed to go right for Shankland concluding with a missed penalty against Ayr United, although he did score some cup goals. (3)

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