Craig Easton (born 26 February 1979) is a Scottish football player and coach, who is currently with Dundee United. He began his playing career with Dundee United in 1996 and went on to play over 200 first team matches, before leaving the club in 2004. He subsequently played for Livingston, Leyton Orient, Swindon Town, Southend United, Dunfermline Athletic and Torquay United before retiring as a player in 2013. After becoming a coach at Raith Rovers in July 2016, Easton decided to re-register as a player. Easton also represented the Scotland under-21 team between 1998 and 2001, making 22 appearances.
Easton with Southend United in 2010
|Full name||Craig Easton|
|Date of birth||26 February 1979|
|Place of birth||Bellshill, Scotland|
|Height||5 ft 10 in (178 cm)|
|Playing position||Central midfield|
(Reserve Team Manager)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 23:01, 31 August 2016 (UTC)|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 26 March 2010
Easton began his career with Dundee United, signing full-time terms at the start of the 1996–97 season and making two league appearances in his first season. In 1997–98, Easton was more of a first team regular, featuring in thirty-five matches, with notable firsts including playing in a UEFA Cup match and scoring his first goal in the League Cup semi-final win over Aberdeen. The following season, Easton continued to play in the majority of matches and repeated this trend over the next few seasons.
In 2003–04, Easton played fewer games, with manager Ian McCall – in his first full season as United manager – demoting his squad number from 7 to 18. In April 2004, McCall announced Easton's contract would be allowed to expire at the season's end, although Easton had made the same decision a few months earlier.
Livingston was to be Easton's new club with the midfielder joining the West Lothian club on a one-year deal in July, scoring on his début a month later. Although Easton played regularly during his season at Almondvale, his contract was not renewed. He scored the goal which secured SPL football for Livingston and sent Dundee F.C down to division one.
Despite interest from Motherwell, moved to English side Leyton Orient on a two-year deal in July 2005. Six months after joining Orient, Easton scored the opening goal in the shock 2–1 FA Cup win over Premier League side Fulham when his "deflected shot looped high into the top corner". Three days afterwards, Easton reflected on his short time in England, saying the "new challenge" had "worked out". Easton went on to score on the final day of the season as Orient won promotion to League One. Easton played the majority of games for Orient during the following season.
|“||I would put that down as my greatest achievement and also my most enjoyable moment in football so far.||”|
|— Easton after helping Leyton Orient beat Fulham in the FA Cup, BBC Sport website|
Easton refused a new contract with Orient to sign for Swindon Town in June 2007 on a two-year deal, reuniting him with manager Paul Sturrock who previously managed Easton whilst at Dundee United. Subsequent to Sturrock's departure in late 2007, Easton was reunited with another former Dundee United colleague when Maurice Malpas was appointed as Swindon manager. Easton was a regular fixture in Town's side throughout the season, making 40 league appearances and was named runner-up in the Player of the Year awards.
The following season was less of a success and Easton found himself in and out of the side being utilised in a number of different positions. With his two-year deal set to expire at the end of the season Easton was one of only four players offered a contract extension. In June 2009 he signed a one-year contract extension at the club. At the end of the 2009–10 season, Easton rejected the offer of a new contract and left the club.
On 16 July 2010, Easton signed a pre-contract agreement with Southend United and was named club captain. When the clubs transfer embargo was lifted on the eve of the new season Easton's registration was submitted to the FA and he was eligible to make his debut against Stockport County on 7 August 2010.
Easton failed to agree a new deal with Southend and became a free agent when his contract expired on 30 June 2011.
He joined Dunfermline Athletic on 26 August 2011, on an initial six-month contract. After three league appearances, Easton's contract ended at the end of January and he became a free agent.
On 26 June 2012 Easton signed for Torquay United on a free transfer, having completed a two-week trial with the club. Manager Martin Ling claimed Easton was a perfect addition to his squad. The pair had previously worked together at Leyton Orient.
In May 2013, Torquay confirmed that Easton was one of seven players who had been released by new manager Alan Knill.
In July 2016, Easton was appointed head coach of the Raith Rovers development team. Easton was also registered as a player at the club, to fill in where needed in development matches. Easton guided Raith Rovers U20s to consecutive SPFL Development League East titles in 2016/17 and 2017/18.
On 1 June 2018 it was announced that Easton had returned to Dundee United to take the new position of Reserve Team Manager. He said that while the decision to leave Raith Rovers was difficult, "the opportunity to come back to the place where it all began for me and to take on a new challenge at an exciting time for everyone involved, was one I couldn’t turn down."
|Club performance||League||Cup||League Cup||Continental||Total|
|Scotland||League||Scottish Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|1996–97||Dundee United||Scottish Premier Division||2||0||-||-||-||2||0|
|1998–99||Scottish Premier League||30||1||6||0||-||-||36||1|
|England||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|2005–06||Leyton Orient||Football League Two||41||4||3||1||1||0||-||45||5|
|2006–07||Football League One||30||1||3||0||1||0||-||34||1|
- "Craig Easton". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
- "Easton to leave Tannadice". BBC Sport website. 27 April 2004. Retrieved 2 June 2008.
- "Double signing for Livi". BBC Sport website. 3 July 2004. Retrieved 2 June 2008.
- "Livingston 3–0 Inverness". BBC Sport website. 7 August 2004. Retrieved 2 June 2008.
- "McKenzie re-signs for Livingston". BBC Sport website. 27 May 2005. Retrieved 2 June 2008.
- "Butcher to lose out on signings". BBC Sport website. 10 July 2005. Retrieved 2 June 2008.
- "Easton completes move to Orient". BBC Sport website. 13 July 2005. Retrieved 2 June 2008.
- "Fulham 1–2 Leyton Orient". BBC Sport website. 8 January 2006. Retrieved 2 June 2008.
- Bevan, Chris (11 January 2006). "Easton still aiming high with O's". BBC Sport website. Retrieved 2 June 2008.
- "Oxford United 2–3 Leyton Orient". BBC Sport website. 6 May 2006. Retrieved 2 June 2008.
- "Swindon sign Easton from Orient". BBC Sport website. 11 June 2007. Retrieved 2 June 2008.
- "THIRTEEN PLAYERS RELEASED". Official site. 5 May 2009. Archived from the original on 9 May 2009. Retrieved 31 May 2009.
- "Trio sign new contracts". Swindon Advertiser. 16 June 2009. Archived from the original on 18 February 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2009.
- "Pars make a signing". Official site. 26 August 2011. Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 26 August 2011.
- "Easton On Board". Torquay United FC. 26 June 2012. Archived from the original on 28 June 2012.
- "Ling happy to bring in Easton". Sky Sports. 26 June 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
- "Raith Rovers confirm Craig Easton youth appointment - The Courier". The Courier. Dundee. 7 July 2016. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
- "Deadline Day Departures…plus Breaking News – a golden oldie registers as a player". Raith Rovers FC. Kirkcaldy. 31 August 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
- "Craig Easton Appointed Reserve Team Manager". dundeeunitedfc.co.uk. Dundee United Football Club. 1 June 2018. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
- Craig Easton at Soccerbase