On the one hand many argue that his off field behaviour should have debarred him from wearing the claret and amber some time ago while, on the other, many saw potential in the youngster who broke into the first team as a 17 year old and appeared as a fixture in the team sheet for almost six seasons.
Terry Butcher rated the teenager as one of the best of the up and coming players in his charge and he was more than happy at the boy's progress. He survived the dark Malpas season and became a regular for Mark McGhee. Following the untimely loss of Phil O'Donnell he was given the captain's armband. Many eyebrows were raised at this elevation and some questioned if he had the maturity to cope as a figurehead. An unsavoury small hours incident in downtown Wishaw gave further cause for concern but the manager stood by him.
'Coach' repaid the trust by becoming a versatile back. He was played at centre back and, at times, in the right midfield role. Opinion among the fans is divided as to his contribution but three managers have continued to give him regular first team experience and he moves to Cardiff to further his ambitions.
The resulting transfer fee, reported to be in the region of £300,000, should be added to Jimbo's war chest. Our new manager will have at his disposal a bigger pot of cash than many in the SPL and it should help him establish a team which reflects his style. We need to hope that he uses this seed corn wisely.
The loss of so many regulars will mean that the new season will see a radically different starting eleven but there will be little in the way of new blood before Thursday's game against Llanelli. Those who remain have to buy time before reinforcements arrive.