Deadline Day Delights

Last updated : 01 February 2005 By Kevin Smith
It's been a good transfer deadline day for Celtic. The noteable highlights of the day have been the loan signing of Craig Bellamy from Newcastle United, Henri Camara's departure to Southampton, and the news that Bobo Balde will stay at the club, at least until the end of the season.

Add to this last week's signing of Stephane Henchoz and we can safely say that it has been a satisfying week for Celtic supporters.

Since the transfer window opened at the beginning of January, the supporters have been crying out for new names. The summer saw us bring in only Juninho and Camara, two signings which have just not worked for us.

This time around, we were linked with almost every available player. The back pages of newspapers were littered with transfer speculation, and by the time we reached half way through the month I began to ignore every story we were llnked with.

Judging by Martin O'Neill's interviews and comments made by Brian Quinn, you would have been forgiven for thinking we were never going to sign anyone. O'Neill looked to be fighting a losing battle and said his priority was to keep current players at the club.

The John Hartson contract saga was sorted during the week of the Rangers game, and he celebrated with a goal. O'Neill's next aim looked to be sorting out the contracts of Jackie McNamara, Neil Lennon and Bobo Balde. Mr Quinn spoke of his desire to keep these players at Celtic, and we were all set for another quiet transfer window.

The first real name which popped up was that of Paul Hartley of Hearts. Not exactly the most glamorous of players, granted, but Hartley expressed an interest to come to Celtic, and Martin O'Neill wanted him here. However, Hearts rejected Celtic's bid for the midfielder, and no more was done regarding the situation.

Stephane Henchoz signed at the tail-end of last week, but missed out on Sunday's trip to Kilmarnock as he is not yet fully fit. It was thought that Henchoz was brought in to replace the outgoing Bobo Balde, who, on Friday, was linked with Middlesbrough. But today, Balde's agent has revealed that he has not signed any pre-contract agreement with anyone, he will be staying at Celtic until the end of the season, and hinted that he is in talks with regards to extending his contract.

Celtic put in a sneaky loan bid for Craig Bellamy on Friday, when Newcastle manager Graeme Souness revealed the striker will never play for the club again, as long as he is manager. Originally, I thought Bellamy's wages would be too high, and he wouldn't be interested in coming to Scotland.

However, over the weekend, stories emerged saying Celtic were Bellamy's preference, and he knocked back a £6 Million move to Birmingham. Newcastle also revealed they would not loan Bellamy out to another Premiership club.

Bellamy signing at Celtic depended on Henri Camara's departure. Thankfully, he has left for Southampton, a move which opened the Celtic Park door to Craig Bellamy.

Bellamy is reported to be on wages of £45,000 a week, and we have signed him on loan until the end of the season. We also have the option of keeping him permanently, but his £6 Million price tag may prove too much for Celtic. Nevertheless, we have secured the signing of a fantastic striker, who will join fellow Welshman John Hartson in Celtic's strike force.

It's been a great day to be a Tim. Now it's time for us to step it up and win this title.