CELTIC'S dramatic entrance into the new season's transfer market looks

certain to include another momentous chapter today when West Ham United

midfield player Stuart Slater will join the club, barring late hitches.

The #1.5m fee has been agreed by the clubs but after lengthy

negotiations yesterday Celtic announced that talks were to continue in

the hope of persuading the 23-year-old to join the ranks along with the

other new man, Andy Payton, who joined the club from Middlesbrough on


But Rangers were not left out of yesterday's transfer manoeuvrings as

they accepted a #500,000 offer from Everton for reserve striker Paul


Slater, for a long time the target of Parkhead manager Liam Brady,

became a realistic objective once the #900,000 income for Derek Whyte,

who went south yesterday, was assured from Middlesbrough. And Brady

moved with a speed that may have outdone anything he achieved in his

playing days to secure the Upton Park man's signature.

Two seasons ago Slater's ball skills and ability to run at defenders

seemed certain to earn him full England honours. But he got no further

than a ''B'' cap, failing to settle in a wide role or the centre of

attack as West Ham were relegated last term. Now it seems that he and

Payton will make their debuts in the Celtic team to meet Dundee United

at Parkhead tomorrow.

Rangers, who sold John Spencer for #500,000 to Chelsea earlier in the

week, accepted the justice of allowing another reserve front man,

Rideout, to leave. The man bought from Notts County to fill in for Mark

Hateley eight months ago agreed terms with Everton yesterday.

Said assistant manager Archie Knox: ''Paul has served us well but has

not been able to become a first-team regular and we wish him well.''

The assumption that the #1m income from the sale of Spencer and

Rideout will not linger in the Ibrox coffers long was not supported by

Knox. Asked if there would be a quick move to bring in a new man, he

replied emphatically: ''No.''

None the less, with Gary McSwegan now the only alternative striker to

Ally McCoist and Hateley, the chances are that another front player will

be acquired in due course.

Much travelled Rideout, who is 28, has previously played for Swindon,

Aston Villa, Southampton, Bari, and Notts County. He is expected to make

his first appearance for Everton against Sheffield Wednesday at Goodison

Park tomorrow.

Rideout proved a versatile performer at Ibrox, filling in at central

defence for a handful of games towards the end of the season when

Rangers ran into injury problems. He also collected a Scottish

Cup-winners' medal although he was an unused substitute in the final

against Airdrie.

Celtic full-back Chris Morris also left for England yesterday, the

Scottish end of the swop deal which brought Payton to Glasgow.

The 22-year-old will start a two-week trial at Dens Park today after

being freed by Cardiff City. Stainrod said: ''The thought of having two

names like that up front is enough to make your mouth water. He's up for

a fortnight so I'll have a good look at him.''