New Boys – Craig Bryson
Little bit “off topic” with todays confirmation of the Tyson signing, but herewith the low down on Craig Bryson from the boys at www.killiefc.com .
The regular armchair fan was introduced to Bryson in January 2006 when all eyes were on Roy Keane’s debut for Celtic at Broadwood (v Clyde) in the Scottish Cup. A 19-year-old from Rutherglen outshone the Republic of Ireland International and helped Clyde towards a 2-1 Cup upset by scoring the second goal.
Bryson had an excellent game against Celtic’s high-earners and soon became one of the hottest prospects in the Scottish Football League. It was only a matter of time before an SPL club came calling and Killie swooped to sign the midfielder in 2007 for a modest fee.
After a settling in period, Bryson finally cemented his place in the Kilmarnock first team under Jim Jefferies in mid-2008 and after that, regularly featured in the side and became a fans favourite at Rugby Park…and an all round nice guy into the bargain.
When Mixu Paateleinan arrived, he had, arguably, a bigger impact on his career than any manager he’ll have played under so far. Mixu swapped Bryson’s engine for his ability to retain possession and he soon became one of the most impressive central midfielders in the SPL. The 24-year-old missed just five games and built a strong partnership with Liam Kelly and Eremenko, as the three complemented each other in the middle of the park.
Bryson played an integral part in the Killie setup that swapped the relegation battle the previous season, where we were 90 minutes (and one miss-kicked shot) away from going down, to challenging for Europe in a superb seven months under the Finnish coach. Bryso, as he is ingeniously nicknamed, made his 100th appearance in a Kilmarnock shirt last season and went on to captain the side.
He was included in Craig Levein’s Scotland squad for the first time and made his debut for the national team against the Faroe Islands at Pittodrie in which he played the second-half. Even against Rangers and Celtic where most players struggle to impose themselves, Bryson turned in some sparkling performances especially in the 3-2 defeat to Rangers at Rugby Park last December.
A few more goals to his repertoire and he would be the complete box-to-box midfielder, that said, we knew it would be a battle to keep him this summer and we wish him well at Derby.