Dembele, McKinnon & Thistle's hangman – Scotland's window shuts in inimitable style
Cryptic tweets, misspelled surnames, “sad” statements “tinged with resentment” and a mascot race – welcome to transfer deadline day in Scotland.
The window shut at midnight on Friday, 31 August after a chaotic evening of frenzied activity and inimitable chaos across the nation’s top two divisions.
As dawn breaks the day after the night before, we bring you up to speed with a record transfer, a controversial managerial switch and some botched signing announcements. Strap yourselves in…
Dembele gets move & Celtic cash in
This one was messy – and very public.
On Wednesday, Celtic rejected a hefty bid for striker Moussa Dembele from Lyon. The following day, the Frenchman posted two late-night tweets – always a risky business – containing warnings about “the truth” and men who “keep their word”…
By Friday lunchtime, Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers was confidently stating Dembele was staying put. But after the 22-year-old sulked through the opening moments of a training session in front of the assembled media, he was hauled indoors by his manager for a right good talking to.
Then, as darkness fell, Celtic relented. They accepted a Scottish record £19.7m bid from Lyon – £7m more than Southampton paid the Parkhead club for Victor Wanyama – and a massive profit on the £500,000 they forked out for Dembele in 2016.
Cue wails of anguish among the Celtic support…
So, no Dembele, scorer of seven goals in nine Old Firm fixtures, for Sunday’s derby. Are Celtic fans getting nervy? Not this bold fella…
‘Premature’ exit saddens Morton
We’ve all been there. A few months into a new and exciting relationship. Everything’s going brilliantly. You’ve found the one… or so you think.
Morton’s tear-stained response to Ray McKinnon’s decision to jump ship for Championship rivals Morton after three months as manager was all a bit “jilted lover”.
“It does appear they [McKinnon and assistant Darren Taylor] have left us prematurely,” wrote Cappielow chairman Crawford Rae.
“Ray and Darren raised the bar and I really thought we had something great going on. My relationship with Ray seemed to be fantastic.”
Rae’s lament drew so much traffic it crashed the club’s website. But don’t worry, Crawford. Plenty more fish and all that…
If you’re going to use a quirky and enticing method of announcing a new signing, you should probably make sure you spell his name correctly.
A lesson for Partick Thistle’s media team, who used a game of Twitter hangman to hint that Dundee United defender Tam Scobbie was bound for Firhill.
See if you can spot the mistake…
We more or less knew Leicester City centre-back Filip Benkovic was bound for Celtic on a season-long loan well before the window shut.
Rodgers had waxed lyrical about the 21-year-old’s qualities “in both boxes”. Grand. But where was he? Not an official peep from Celtic, nor Leicester, about this supposed done deal. Despite the fact the Croat trained with Celtic earlier in the day and Rodgers had talked in gushing terms about him.
Then, in the final hour of the window, Celtic tweeted a pre-recorded interview with Benkovic shortly after confirming Dembele’s exit.
As you can imagine, it went down well with the fans…
Controversy as Dougie does double
Not convinced deadline day in Scotland is an utterly unique experience? Wait for this…
As managers across the country prepared for last-minute business, 16 SPFL mascots were competing in their annual race. Yes, you read that right. Sixteen mascots of all creeds and species sprinting along the Hamilton racetrack.
Queen of the South’s Dougie the Doonhamer retained his title, beating Motherwell’s Steelman to the finish.
But Dougie’s victory was not undisputed – Motherwell reckoned a photo finish was required…