As well as leaving a significant hole in the Dunfermline defence, the departure of Euan Murray at the end of last season left an armband without an owner; a club without a captain.
With the Pars’ Premier Sports Cup opener against Partick Thistle approaching apace, manager Peter Grant will soon make his decision regarding who Murray’s successor as skipper will be.
Given Grant was able to call upon the leadership skills and experience of Andy Graham as his captain at Alloa, he will have a healthy appreciation for the importance of the role and the need to choose the right candidate.
And there are several players who fit the bill at East End Park in that regard — as well as a few who could be outside bets to command the role.
The former Dundee United defender would be the most like-for-like replacement for Murray, given they are both towering, vocal, no-nonsense centre-halves and cultivated a fine partnership last season.
The 30-year-old boasts more that 350 appearances in the SPFL with Livingston, Raith Rovers and Falkirk, and was a key part of the Pars side which reached the Premiership playoffs last term.
Watson also boasts a Championship winner’s medal — Peter Grant’s stated goal — from his time at Tannadice. It would take a foolhardy gambler to put their money elsewhere.
Owain Fon Williams
Fon Williams is respected in the dressing room, a natural leader and has played more than 400 matches as a senior professional, making him an obvious candidate for the armband.
The 34-year-old is a full Wales internationalist — representing his country once — and was part of the Dragons’ squad which reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016.
Perhaps the only thing that counts against the former Inverness and Hamilton stopper is the uncertainty regarding whether he will remain Dunfermline’s No.1, with the hungry Deniz Mehmet snapping at his heels.
The waspish winger — currently recovering from a serious knee injury — may seem an unusual contender, given he is not the most outwardly vocal or expressive member of the Pars dressing room.
Nevertheless, his diligent professionalism and ability to lead by example proved enough for ex-Dunfermline boss Stevie Crawford to make him Euan Murray’s vice-captain last summer.
The 25-year-old emerged as the Pars’ talisman last term, particularly during a sensational, assist-laden start to the campaign. He also brings an infectious energy to the group and is a bombastic presence in the dressing room.
— BBC Sport Scotland (@BBCSportScot) January 25, 2020
Affording Thomas the responsibility of the captaincy may even unlock a different side to his personality as he matures as a player. Was pictured wearing the armband against Hibs on Saturday.
Was given the captaincy during Dunfermline’s 2-2 draw against Civil Service Strollers and, while only 24 years of age, the former St Johnstone youngster is hugely respected by the players and coaches at East End Park.