Michael Gardyne to Kilmarnock

September 4, 2013
Gardyne will be hoping good form in Ayrshire can earn him a second chance at Tannadice.

Gardyne will be hoping good form in Ayrshire can earn him a second chance at Tannadice.

Why it makes sense

For the club

Based on Saturday’s game at Motherwell,
Allan Johnston appears to be moving away from the direct,
two-up top style of the previous three league games. In the 2-1
defeat, the new manager’s side were patient in their build-up and
elected to start Rory McKenzie as the link between midfield and
attack in the “number 10” playmaker position. The youngster
doesn’t quite have the confidence or the nous to make that role his own just yet so if this is a permanent tactical switch from
Johnston then there are few players available to fill the role better
than Gardyne.

Since moving to the top flight with Dundee United last summer the former Ross County
favourite has been somewhat of a disappointment. He has largely
featured from the bench, but even when granted a start his
performances have been somewhat underwhelming. However, the reason for this could be United’s refusal to play him in his preferred
role through the centre, often choosing to deploy him on the wing or as a
late goal-searching substitute. Getting a run in the position that
earned him the initial move to Tannadice should see him flourish at
this level. His cameo on Saturday certainly indicated that.

For the player

Regular playing time is so valuable
right now for the 27-year old who is approaching a crossroads in his
career. The clock is ticking and if he wants to make a name for
himself at this level then he’ll have to do it fast. He does have
another year on his Tannadice contract beyond this summer but if his
parent club don’t see any improvement they’ll likely phase him out in
an attempt to move him on. He needs the opportunity to prove himself
before that scenario arises.

As previously mentioned, it’s not just
the opportunity to play, it’s the system he’ll be playing in. A structured
4-4-1-1 is exactly how he thrived with Ross County and his decision
to join the Ayrshire club certainly made a lot more sense when the
team set itself out in that formation on the Fir Park turf. The
six-month length indicates his parent club have not completely given
up on him so he’ll have the chance to return should he excel. Staying in the league is more beneficial to
his long term Tannadice future rather than moving down south or abroad where he’d be out of sight and
out of mind.


Why it doesn’t

For the player

There’s not many negatives for the
player. He won’t be particularly pleased about playing on a limited
team that will struggle regardless of how well he performs, but at
least he’ll have Kris Boyd in front of him. The former Scotland
striker’s shooting ability can turn any simple pass into an assist
and that should reflect well on Gardyne. He could end up
back in a similar situation to the one he just left if Killie
continue to struggle and Johnston sacrifices the ‘trequartista’ in an
attempt to grind out valuable points. But that’s a danger which would follow himself wherever he
goes. He’s a specialist player.

He could have stayed to fight for his place. Chris Erskine has not enjoyed a smooth transition to the top flight and Gardyne would have moved above him in the pecking order if that continued. Saying that, there are a lot of attacking midfielders at United right now.

For the club

If this loan deal stretched until the
end of the season then there would be nothing wrong with this deal from Kilmarnock’s point of view. The
nature of football nowadays dictates that managers have to handle a
revolving door of talent and still lead the team to success. The rise
of the one-year contract has lessened the stigma attached to loan
deals if they cover the same length. But this is a deal that ends in
January. Are Kilmarnock’s dwindling finances so bad that they are
forced to taking a short-term loan and potentially improving the
asset of a rival just to get a competitive team on the park? Remember
that last season the club were a Kenny Shiels disagreement with Gary
Harkins away from reaching the top six at the expense of United! If
the player performs he’ll likely be recalled in January and it is
doubtful the club’s finances would have recovered sufficiently in the
time to bring in an able replacement at such short notice.

This is still a gamble on Kilmarnock’s
part. They are giving a very influential role in the team to a player
who has yet to prove he can cut it at the Scottish Premiership level.
We believe Gardyne is going to be a success in his preferred position
but there is little evidence to prove this theory; his best work is
from his time in Division One. He’s still an unknown quantity at this
level and could easily struggle in a blue and white striped shirt.

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