Keane may be the story of the window but the SPL was a busier place than you would have expected.
At Celtic Park Diomansy Kamara has signed on to provide the all important role of inconsistent striker that plays off the front and works the channels that doesn’t score very much. They don’t have any of them at the moment. The left back quandary appears to be temporarily solved with Edson Braffheid signing on loan from Bayern Munich. The Dutch international was encouraged to move for regular games before the World Cup. Personally I’d love to see him sent off, the headline ‘Edson goes Br’aff His Heid’ writes itself. ‘Dave Ki’ looks a promising talent while if Jos Hooiveld plays as well he talks he could be the calming presence at the back they need. While the Old Firm tradition of pinching young talent not to play them continues with the signing of Paul Slane from Motherwell.
Out of Celtic Park goes Scott MacDonald, a goalscorer, but they have plenty of them at Parkhead. Tony Mowbray never rated the Australian but McDonald should leave with his head held high with the impact he has made on the pitch for The Hoops. Mowbray will hope that he won’t live to regret letting the Aussie go. Stephen McManus and Gary Caldwell have moved down south to terrorise their fellow team mates down south with Wigan fans being treated to a Gary Caldwell special in the FA Cup. Barry Robson a surprising departure has also joined up with Gordon on Teeside, and should do well in the Championship, while Willo Flood and Chris Killen may soon find their level.
At Ibrox Jerome Rothen has gone, the greatest French signing at Ibrox since Lionel Letizi, while Pedro Mendes has returned to Portugal. A good deal for Rangers to get £1.5m for a 31 year old player who has spent most of the season injured as his teammates stay top of the league. It is sad when a team can lose players and still have the look of potential champions.
At Easter Road the question of how many good shot stoppers but dodgy decision making keepers do one team need has been answered and according to John Hughes its 4 with the signing of Mark Brown from Celtic. Alan Gow arrives on loan from Plymouth who seem to turn into a graveyard for Scottish talent only for them to turn up in loan in the SPL.
Speaking of players escaping Devon, Steven MacLean and Jim Paterson have arrived at Pittodrie on loan from The Pilgrims. While Jim Paterson will give the impression of an average player playing averagely, Steven MacLean has the pedigree to make an impression. A proven goalscorer at League One and Championship level, MacLean has the ability to make an impact in the SPL at the second time of asking. Never really given a full chance at Ibrox he spent the following seasons building a moderately successful career down south, first with Scunthorpe United and then Sheffield Wednesday before things started breaking down for him at Cardiff City.
The signing of MacLean meant that Mark McGhee saw fit to allow Chris Maguire to join Kilmarnock on loan. Obviously still gobsmacked at managing to get £500,000 for Lee Miller from the SPL’s official sponsor for the January 2010 transfer window Gordon Strachan. Kilmarnock faces the realistic prospect of being relegated this season despite defeating Celtic so for Jimmy Calderwood to sign the experienced Scott Severin is a coup for the Ayrshire club. While Kevin Kyle’s goals helped Killie out of the mire last season the experience of Severin may help guide them away this time around. Never really Scotland class, though those two words barely go together these days, he is a solid SPL performer and coupled with the impressive Craig Bryson Killie have an engine room that may be able to pull them away.
Falkirk have reinforced their squad with the signing of Enoch Showumni and Colin Healy. While Showumni looks good nuisance value the signing of Healy could be inspired or insipid. He has travelled around a bit, but when he has been anywhere other than Cork City, struggled to get regular games. Has the ability to do the same job Liam Miller has done at Hibernian, while another former Celt has signed for Motherwell with South Africa 2010 in mind. Michael McGlinchy has been brought in as a like for like replacement for Paul Slane. He was a highly rated youngster at Celtic but couldn’t force his way past McGeady, Maloney and co.
St Johnstone remained fairly quiet with the signing of Michael Connolly on loan from Bolton while the signing of Cillian Sheridan could provide a crucial new weapon as the Perth side continue to keep the relegation battle in the distance.
At Hearts they signed Jim Jefferies quicker than Csaba Laszlo was actually sacked. On the player front they signed Ryan Stevenson from Ayr United, for those Jambos not sure about him he is a bit of a YouTube legend (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvzg2ZQ2LNw) while Jose Goncalves has had the gall to defy Vlad and looks set to sit out the rest of the season. Somebody should probably tell JJ that if he thought Michael Johnston was bad then Vladimir Romanov is a totally different bunch of bananas.
Finally Hamilton are hoping to be the renaissance men of the SPL with the returns on loan of Joel Thomas and Brian Easton though perhaps there most important signing may be the fact that James McArthur and Tomas ‘I’ll Save The Penalty’ Cerny remained at the club. St. Mirren signed Graham Carey from Celtic, possibly the players’ best chance of a winner’s medal this season. Stephen McGinn has left for Watford before his contract expired while Mo Camara and Denis Wyness were released. The biggest drama at Tannadice was Blackpool trying to sign Gary Kenneth on the cheap while Dusan Pernis looks like a safe pair of hands.
So there you have it a fairly entertaining transfer window by SPL standards.
Who is your pick of the purchases? Who will you miss? Will it save your season or condemn you to doom?