It was deja vu all over again as Jamie Gullan arrived at Stark’s Park to ink his Raith Rovers contract on Thursday.
“It’s meant to be,” said Rovers boss John McGlynn. “There are players who just fit clubs — and Jamie fits us.”
You can say that again.
This is Gullan’s fourth separate spell with the Kirkcaldy club, having previously scored 14 goals in 50 appearances, spanning a hat-trick of loan stints.
However, familiarity should not breed indifference.
Rovers fought off several suitors in the Championship for Gullan’s signature and, boasting a record of one goal in every 2.5 starts for the Kirkcaldy club, he knows where the net is.
Robust Raith foundations
But, even casting aside Gullan’s physicality, thunderous finishing ability and versatility, his capture is indicative of a wider strategy at Raith Rovers.
Under McGlynn, they are no longer living year to year; enduring a close season scramble to renew deals and build a new squad.
By anyone’s measure, a rock solid foundation.
Those tied up until 2023 are manifold. In Jamie MacDonald and Christophe Berra, they have experience and quality assured.
Liam Dick, Aidan Connolly, Tom Lang and Dario Zanatta have been stand-out performers this term.
The likes of Aaron Arnott, Kieran Mitchell and Greig Young are fine young talents.
It is widely accepted — even by McGlynn — that this campaign represents Rovers’ best opportunity to reach the Premiership in at least a decade.
However, such a feat is far from a certainty.
And, should they fail in that aim, they will be ready to challenge again next term. That would represent a third successive campaign as genuine promotion hopefuls in the second tier.
One must go back to the yo-yo years of the early-to-mid-1990s for a period of comparable consistency.
That is not to say there isn’t still work to be done.
Reghan Tumilty, the best right-back outside the top-flight, is out of contract in the summer and will inevitably attract interest.
His aggression, pace and stamina is staggering and, one way or another, he is ready for Premiership football next term. Brad Spencer will undoubtedly be a priority for the club.
Aside from that talented duo, the ball is in Rovers’ court. No panic.
Kyle Benedictus and Frankie Musonda have not been regulars in recent weeks — albeit the former is club captain and an invaluable leader — while Blaise Riley-Snow has been seldom used.
Dave McKay is the other senior player who is out of contract in the summer.
Whether in the Premiership or Championship, Rovers will be in a good place in 2022/23 and beyond.