Gavin Hunt hopes Wits' new Scottish signing Simon Murray is a 20-goal striker

23 July 2018 - 14:38 By Nick Said
Bidvest Wits head coach Gavin Hunt cuts a frustrated figure on the touchline during an Absa Premiership match against AmaZulu on April 28 2018 at Bidvest Stadium in Johannesburg.
Bidvest Wits head coach Gavin Hunt cuts a frustrated figure on the touchline during an Absa Premiership match against AmaZulu on April 28 2018 at Bidvest Stadium in Johannesburg.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

BidVest Wits coach Gavin Hunt hopes his search for a striker who can get 15-20 goals in the Premier Soccer League season is over after the arrival of Scottish forward Simon Murray from Hibernian.

Murray has been signed for a reported £150‚000 (R2.7-million) as Hunt desperately seeks to end his side’s woes in front of goal.

“The option came up to sign Simon and it just seemed right‚” Hunt told TimesLIVE.

“It is very difficult to get quality strikers anywhere in the world but he looks like he will fit the bill.

“He doesn’t know the League‚ obviously‚ so for us it is about helping him to settle down quickly.

"It is never easy to bring in foreign players who need to get used to local conditions.”

The 26-year-old Murray has scored 65 goals in 119 starts in Scottish football and has already competed for Hibernian in the early rounds of the UEFA Europa League this season.

Despite scoring 14 goals in 23 starts for Hibs‚ he was surprisingly loaned out to Dundee United for the second half of the campaign and has now been able to leave.

“I didn’t feel Simon would play that much – he wasn’t really at the forefront of our minds in terms of how we want to play this season‚” Hibs manager Neil Lennon told Edinburgh News.

“We brought him in for nothing. We got a good offer for him which we feel is beneficial for the club and him.

“He realises he’d have found it difficult to get a regular spot. He quite fancies the challenge of playing in a different environment and culture and financially I think it’s quite rewarding for him as well.”

Hunt has also confirmed that Canadian striker Marcus Haber and Swedish forward Mathias Ranégie are no longer training with the club.

“It just did not work out for them‚” was all he said.

Wits’ flirtation with relegation last season‚ having been champions the year before‚ was in large part to do with their wastefulness in front of goal.

The club’s leading marksman was Lehlohonolo Majoro‚ who managed a paltry four goals‚ though he only joined the side midway through the campaign from Cape Town City.

The other striking options in the squad are Gift Motupa‚ Thobani Mncwango‚ Mxolisi Macuphu and Gabadinho Mhango‚ though the latter has been tipped to make an exit.

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