Dunfermline Athletic have just announced the signing of fierce rivals Raith Rovers' captain Kyle Benedictus on a free transfer, following a contract dispute.
The 30 Year Old Centre Back spent 7 years on the books of Raith Rovers, playing almost 250 games for the club in that time - being club captain for a majority of them.
Benedictus was expected to extend his stay in Kirkcaldy, but he found himself locked in talks with the club, allowing James McPake's Dunfermline to nip in and secure his services.
Recently relegated Dunfermline Athletic have seen a clear out since their demotion to the 3rd tier of Scottish Football. John Hughes has left the club, along with his favoured pairing at the back - with Efe Ambrose and Coll Donaldson both leaving the club, following the expiration of their loan deals.
This has left Dunfermline Athletic pretty light on their feet in defence, with just 1 senior Central Defender left on the books at East End Park. The addition of Benedictus is surprising, but also extremely shrewd.
This is exactly the signing that a team like Dunfermline need to be making if they intend on challenging for promotion back to the Championship next season. It will be a busy summer in Fife and the 'Pars' have started positively by adding an experienced player to their ranks.
Benedictus knows the division, and just how hard it is to bounce back and get promoted following relegation, after he suffered the same fate - under the same manager - in 2017. Benedictus was key to his sides promotion from League One as champions in the 2019/20 season - playing 36 games in all competitions, with Raith top of the table when the season was curtailed early due to the pandemic.
[Benedictus tussling with Kevin O'Hara]
Benedictus would continue to be a mainstay in the Raith team, playing 75 games across the next 2 campaigns for John McGlynn's side as they established themselves as promotion hopefuls, making the play-offs in their first season back, before sliding down to 5th in their 2nd year, with performances on the pitch derailed by events off of it.
Benedictus is a smart signing by Dunfermline Athletic, and the former Raith Rovers captain will be a key man for new boss James McPake. He has signed a deal until the summer of 2024 at East End Park.