Early today St. Johnstone confirmed the loan signing of Ali Crawford from Bolton Wanderers.
[St. Johnstone announce the signing of Ali Crawford]
The 30 year-old ex-Hamilton midfielder has joined Saints on a 6 month loan from Bolton Wanderers which will keep him in Perth until January 31st.
So, who is Ali Crawford?
Who Has he Played For?
Ali Crawford first came through the Heart of Midlothian academy before being picked up by Hamilton Academical at age 14 where he spent the next 12 years - bar a loan spell with Bo'ness United.
He became a key player for 'Accies' and was ever present during their promotion winning campaign of 2013/14. He took to life in the Premiership like a duck to water the following season, grabbing 11 goals and 11 assists in his maiden Premiership campaign.
[Ali Crawford played in Hamilton's play-off win over Hibernian]
Over the course of his spell in Lanarkshire Crawford contributed to 104 goals in 271 games before the attacking midfielder headed down south to Doncaster Rovers in 2018. In his singular season with 'Donny Rovers' he scored 3 and assisted 8 in English League One.
He was then on the move again the following season when he joined Bolton Wanderer's where he struggled with injuries but showed his quality in patches, scoring 3 and assisting 11 in his 38 games for the club.
[Crawford scores for Bolton Wanderers]
He had a short loan stint with Tranmere Rovers last season where he only played 9 times and failed to contribute a goal
What Type of Player is Crawford?
Crawford is an attacking midfielder with an eye-for-goal who is brilliant at set-pieces. He is a good free-kick and corner taker. He likes to drive into the box at pace and is tricky with the ball at his feet whilst also being quite a creative player.
[Ali nets at Ibrox]
He has his doubters that's for sure but I have faith in Crawford. He can score and assist goals, he likes being in and around the box. We have been lacking this style of central threat.
He is certainly talented. If Crawford can get back to his best he could be an inspired addition to the side and prove very useful for St. Johnstone.
Here is a highlight's video of some of his best moments at Hamilton:
[Youtube video from SPFL Scout]
How Will Crawford Fit in St. Johnstone's Line-up?
This is a question which has sparked plenty of debate. Some theorise that Crawford will slot into the middle when we play a 3 man midfield or wide when we operate with a 3 up top.
He occupies a very similar position to 'Spoony' but I doubt he will end up playing wide. He will more likely be used in the centre of the park, although I do think he is too suspect defensively to fill in for a McCann or Davidson so will more likely be used in conjunction with 2 others behind him, whereas he will be further forward in a more attacking midfield role.
[Crawford strikes from range]
I am unsure whether it is possible to fit both him and Wotherspoon into the same side but that is yet to be seen. Only Callum Davidson will know the answer to this one
Is Crawford a Good Signing?
Only time will tell but for now I say give him a chance. Callum Davidson showed last season with Bryson and Conway that he can get the most of players who were out of form.
Fingers crossed the move works out. If he can get fit and firing, we have a real player on our hands.