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JIM SPENCE: Scottish clubs are regularly ripped off when selling their prized assets

Ali McCann left St Johnstone for £1.2 million in August
Ali McCann left St Johnstone for £1.2 million in August

Scottish football has always been a mere staging post for much of our top talent before moving onto bigger things.

The Bosman ruling where no fee is payable once a players contract expires made the situation worse.

And the advent of big TV deals, left our income streams trailing dramatically.

We have always exported many of our brightest and best talents.

Historically, the earning gap for players wasn’t as gargantuan between our game, England and others as it is now.

Martin Boyle left Dundee for Hibs in a swap deal seven years ago. He is the latest to move in a transfer which will make him a millionaire.

But it is less rewarding for Hibs.

They are getting £2.5 million for the winger from Al-Faisaly in Saudi Arabia where such a sum is chicken feed.

Last week, Dundee United sold 17-year-old Kerr Smith to Aston Villa for fee that could reportedly rise to £2 million.

There’s nothing new in Scottish players leaving for more money and bigger challenges.


Andy Gray broke United fans’ hearts when he left them as a 19-year-old.

With 95 appearances and 47 goals under his belt, he also moved to Villa for £110,000 early in 1975.

Smith is highly regarded as a hot prospect.

He pulled the first team shirt on just 12 times at Tannadice before moving to Villa Park where another Scot, John McGinn also plies his trade.

McGinn moved from Hibs to the Birmingham club three years ago for just £2.75 million pounds.

But he’s currently being linked with a move to Liverpool or Manchester United – with a £50 million fee on his head.

Scotland star John McGinn has been linked with a £50 million move to Liverpool and Manchester United

That is some rate of inflation and the figure underscores the major issue which many fans have in Scotland.

The feeling is that we hugely undersell our players when bigger clubs in richer leagues come in for them.

Many of St Johnstone’s current difficulties as they battle in the Scottish Premiership basement can be squarely placed on the shoulders of their decision to flog Ali McCann to Preston for a paltry £1.2 million.

Trying to get maximum value for players in transfer deals isn’t an exact science.

Jim Spence: Scottish clubs are ‘babes in the wood’ when it comes to transfer dealings

Dundee star Alan Gilzean made a big-money move to Tottenham Hotspur in 1964

But, as we witness a revival of emerging Scottish talent, the feeling persists that we’ll continue to be lambs to the slaughter in selling at bargain basement prices.

Historically, the path to England was seen as being paved with riches.

But at least our clubs once got a decent return in selling their best players.

When Dundee sold the likes of Alan Gilzean to Spurs in 1964 for £72.500 there was a sense they were getting pretty much the going rate.

Now the feeling persists that our clubs are getting regularly ripped off.

There’s a fine line between overpricing and underselling.

But it’s hard to resist the thinking that many Scottish clubs are like babes in the woods in their transfer dealings compared to more business savvy counterparts elsewhere.

JIM SPENCE: Goals win games – and Dundee United, Dundee and St Johnstone MUST target them in January

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