SOMETHING is afoot when it comes to Scotland and the football transfer market.

You can see it in the David Turnbull saga, the free-scoring Motherwell midfielder who appears to have rebuffed an offer from Celtic in favour of signing for Norwich City.

You can see it in the Parkhead side’s similarly fruitless pursuit of John McGinn this time last year, the former St Mirren and Hibs midfielder heading off on his holidays this summer as a Premier League player after Aston Villa’s victory in the play-off final at Wembley.

You could throw Aberdeen’s Scott McKenna, for whom a £3.5m offer was rebuffed last summer, into that mix too.


READ MORE: Every Scottish Premiership transfer so far this summer

In years gone by, Celtic – and Rangers back in the days when they were prepared to throw millions of pounds at home-based players – could pretty much take their pick when it came to the most promising young players in this country.

The auction for the talented Hibs team assembled by Bobby Williamson was the case in point. While Celtic won the battle for Scott Brown and took Derek Riordan, Rangers were well-served by Kevin Thomson and Steven Whittaker. While the Ibrox side snapped up the likes of Steven Naismith, Kris Boyd and Lee Wallace too, their ability to lavish sums on the best Scottish players going was understandably diminished during what could euphemistically be called their wilderness years.

That left the way clear for Celtic to stockpile every young Scot going, usually at bargain-basement prices. If they couldn’t find a first-team spot, then so be it.

Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven for a combined fee of £2m? Don’t mind if I do. Ryan Christie, £500,000 from Inverness? Go on then. Scott Allan for £275,000 from Hibs was a price worth paying too, even if he was hardly spotted in a first-team jersey, with the club lavishing a similar amount last summer to take Lewis Morgan from St Mirren. Were it not for Kieran Tierney plying his trade in their first team, it is a pretty fair bet that the Parkhead side might have made another play for Andy Robertson too.

So what has changed? Well, while Rangers are back in the game now, making plays for out-of-contract stars like Ryan Jack, Jordan Jones, Jake Hastie and Glen Kamara, the main issue relates to these big-ticket items like Turnbull and Co.


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The accusation of penny-pinching is never far away when it comes to the Celtic board but it is unfair in this regard as there is a structural problem working against them. A victim of their own successes, they now find desperate promotion-chasing championship sides like Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday well aware there are players in Scottish football capable of making the step up and thinking nothing of doubling the money which Celtic are prepared to offer in wages not to mention offering the cachet of a route to the Premier League.

For all the talk of money-crazed agents, they are only doing their job if they land their clients a better deal and a better chance of first-team football.

Peter Lawwell, then, has a decision to make. Either Celtic change their wage structure, give into the madness of the market and splurge £20,000-a-week on untested 20-year-olds, or they attempt to take these players earlier, when there is a bigger risk attached. Because, by the time a player has made his name in the Scottish game, it is already too late.

Supporters of Scotland’s other teams will hardly be shedding too many tears for them, but Celtic find themselves in a predicament as they attempt to redefine their transfer paradigm under Neil Lennon and perhaps director of football target Nicky Hammond.


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Good scouting – at home or abroad – will always be part of it. So too should be an increased focus on working with some of the prodigious young talents they already have within their own academy. But when it comes to the transfer market, the Northern Irishman may find that his money doesn’t go as far as it used to.


I’m sitting here feeling sorry for myself with a broken collarbone after a freak football accident. As I soldier on bravely like a latter-day Franz Beckenbauer, typing with one hand, it makes me think about the how injury is quite simply an occupational hazard when it comes to sport.

Look no further than cycling, where cracked clavicles are de rigeur whenever riders fly over their handlebars. Right now, last year’s yellow jersey winner Geraint Thomas is thanking his lucky stars that he will still be on the start line for next month’s Tour de France after crashing at the Tour of Switzerland and hitting his head off the tarmac. His illustrious Team Ineos team-mate Chris Froome wasn’t quite so lucky,

On a reconnaissance ride at 37km/h, he took his hands off the handlebars momentarily to blow his nose, only for a gust of wind to cause him to lose control. He hit a wall, resulting in a fractured femur, elbow, ribs and neck, and losing two litres of blood. Patched up over a painstaking six hours of surgery, it will be 2020 by the time we see him competing again.

There are no death-defying crashes to avoid in tennis, nor any flying elbows or late lunges, but in London today a 32-year-old Andy Murray makes his return with a metal hip, after previous surgeries on his back and wrist. A career in sport is a great thing to aspire to, but you can expect to getting used to the inside of hospital wards.