After revamping the Pars' first team and reserve squad with younger players, manager Stevie Crawford captured experienced midfielder Paul Paton yesterday. Several weeks ago, after the releasing the bulk of out of contract players from the season just ended, the manager stated that he was aiming to sign young and hungry players plus at least 2 ''older heads'' with good attitudes to help guide the more youthful new recruits. Paul Paton fits that description perfectly, having turned 32 in April and with over 450 appearances in his career for his previous clubs.
Paul began his career with Queens Park, making his debut aged 18 and playing 107 times over a 3 year period. He then moved across Glasgow to Partick Thistle in 2008. He was a first team regular in all of his 5 seasons at Firhill, making 183 appearances. By the time he left Thistle, he was just turned 26 years old and had made almost 300 appearances in the Scottish League.
Tannadice was his next destination and during a 3 year stay he played 95 times for Dundee United, before signing for St Johnstone and then Plymouth Argyle. He has also been capped 5 times by Northern Ireland, qualifying for the Irish team through his father.
Moving to Falkirk last summer, Paul was arguably a victim of Paul Hartley's scattergun approach to signing virtually a whole new squad of players, most of whom barely resembled professional footballers. It was clear when watching Falkirk last season that Paul Paton was a frustrated figure, one of the few reliable players in what was otherwise a very poor squad, even after Hartley's successor Ray McKinnon had a January clearout and replaced Hartley's duds with a new set of slightly better duds.
As the photo above shows, Paul captained Dundee United for part of his time at the club, a role he may well take on at Dunfermline - he is certainly the type of character that would be ideal to lead the squad and perhaps allow Lee Ashcroft to focus on his own game without what at times has seemed to be the burden of the captaincy. This is no criticism of Lee - there have been other players, Andy Smith among them, whose own form slumped after being made club captain, and in 2018/19, the season he was appointed captain, Lee Ashcroft undeniably played well below the standard he had set in the 2 seasons prior to that.
A hard working, honest player, Paul Paton described his style of play when signing for Plymouth in January 2018: "I have come down here to work hard, I like to make tackles, keep things simple and let the good players play."
These are attributes that will be welcomed at Dunfermline, and as a leader and the squad's most experienced player, he could prove to be as important off the pitch as on it over the coming season.
Goals were in short supply for Dunfermline in season 2018/19, with the club's top scorer Myles Hippolyte finding the net 6 times, only 2 of which were in the League. The team finished the season as lowest scorers in the Championship, averaging less than a goal per game. It was clear that this summer's transfer activity had to include the addition of at least one first team ready striker, to add to the forwards already in the new-look squad. Yesterday, Stevie Crawford added such a player when Kevin Nisbet joined from Raith Rovers.
22 year old Nisbet scored 34 times in the season just ended. Raith lost out on promotion to the Championship after defeat in a play-off with Queen of the South. This triggered a clause in his contract which allowed him to speak to other clubs.
Kevin Nisbet's career started with Partick Thistle as a youth team player. He joined East Stirling - then of League 2 - on loan in the 2014/15 season and scored 6 goals in 11 games. On returning to Firhill, he made 25 appearances, mainly from the bench, and had further loan spells at Dumbarton and Ayr United. Then came his move to Kirkcaldy last summer and 34 goals in 45 appearances over the course of the season.
The video below shows many of Kevin's goals for the Wee Team. The video was made by the YouTube uploader and has been linked from their YouTube channel - I have no claim to the content or creation of the video):
Raith Rovers chairman Bill Clark had this to say about the striker earlier this week: ''He had a clause in his contract that allowed him to talk to other clubs if we didn't go up to the Championship.
"He has activated that clause, but this does not prevent Raith Rovers from claiming training development compensation from whichever club he goes to.
"We know three Championship clubs are interested in him, we've talked to all three of them, and his agent is involved as well.
"At the moment it's a question of will one of these clubs pay the compensation we're looking for. He's a really nice young lad who fitted in well, enjoyed his time here and scored a lot of goals for us. It just wasn't quite enough to get us to the Championship but we thank Kevin very much for his contribution.''
One of two arrivals from the Wee Team today, centre half Euan Murray has signed up for 2 years at East End Park. The defender, who had been at Stark's Park for the past 2 seasons, also captained Raith for a spell in 2018/19.
Euan began his career with Motherwell, making 3 appearances as a teenager, before joining Arbroath - playing just once - and then Clyde, where he made 5 appearances in the first half of the 2014/15 season.
In January 2015, aged 21, Euan made the move to the Solomon Islands to play for Western United. Located in the South Pacific, 1300 miles north of the coast of Australia, the move to the Islands was suggested by an agent who got in touch with Euan's dad, who commented at the time: ''Euan has been combining part time football with a job as a barman. Out of left field an agent suggested Western United. Euan was intrigued by this and the potential offer. Within 24 hours of the initial contact with the club's scout he was on a plane heading to the Pacific region. Euan and another player - Rash Ahmed from England - became the first British players to sign and play in the Solomon Islands.
''Their signing has created a big stir there and both of them have even been guests of the British High Commissioner to the country''.
The adventure lasted 4 months before Euan returned to Scotland in April 2015 and played one more game for Clyde. In the summer of that year he signed for Stenhousemuir. The season that followed was the first of his career that he was selected regularly, playing 32 games in total for the Warriors.
England was his next destination, splitting the 2016/17 season between playing for Barrow and then Southport.
Two summers ago he came back north to join Raith Rovers, making 90 appearances in the seasons that followed. Primarily a central defender, he came also play in both fullback positions. Versatility is key in the trimmed-down Pars squad for the season ahead but I would expect to see the player used mainly in central defence. He is at a good age to develop his game further and will hopefully be the defensive partner that will allow Lee Ashcroft to regain his best form.