Between the posts Graeme Smith has not had his critics to seek in his time at the club but he has come to form recently. His shot stopping ability was rarely in doubt but at the end of last season he played a vital role in getting us into Europe and was rarely culpable for goals lost this year. He has made it clear he is ambitious and given the goalkeeping situation at other clubs in the league, he may well wish to move south. Dundee United could be a possible destination as they seek to replace Zaluska but if we pushed the boat out we could probably match their offer. However, the signing of Michael Fraser on a pre-contract from Inverness may suggest Smith is offski.
The pressing concern though is in the centre of the park. Maros Klimpl is on loan but with his club in
Beside him in the middle is usually Stephen Hughes who is out of contract. Reports linking him with a move to Rangers are surely fantasies and more plausible speculation indicating a move to Tynecastle is of more concern. Whether he would be welcomed there following his previous comments is debatable though and it is also questionable if they have need for him as Aguiar, Stewart, Palazuelos, Driver and Kingston already compete for places in that midfield. England could be an option but after a negative experience with Leicester it is not certain he will want to move again. He largely gets away with his inconsistency at Motherwell and given money is tight all round, he may find fewer clubs willing to gamble on him than he would like to believe.
Up front Cillian Sheridan will return to Celtic and will not really be missed despite a couple of promising performances. Mark Reynolds has surely ruined any chance of a move next summer with his recent form and while Quinn, Hammell and Clarkson can all have their moments, it would be a brave move for any manager to splash the cash on them. On the other hand, we have several first team squad players who have made limited contributions that we may look to move on. Malcolm will surely not be offered another deal while there is no guarantee Fitzpatrick, McGarry or Darren Smith have a future at the club either.
Mark McGhee showed that his philosophy of having a small squad full of quality could work last year but, as everyone suspected, the plan fell apart in December when we had a few injuries. McGhee will demand something in the way of success next year as it is the only way he will halt his sliding stock and secure the big move he clearly desires. That is no bad thing for us but to achieve success you must risk failure. We need to cross our fingers for a better summer than last year in terms of signings and then hope for a good run without injuries if we are to meet the ambitions of fans and manager alike.