Within around a week of each other, Aberdeen, Newco and Celtic are all likely to sign wide midfield players, although with different profiles. Niall McGinn re-joins Aberdeen on a contract which will expire in 2021, a few weeks short of his 34th birthday. Celtic are set to announce the capture of St Mirren’s Lewis Morgan (21) imminently, while Newco have confounded all by paying money (or at least promising to) for former Motherwell winger, Jamie Murphy (28).
Murphy was irrepressible at Motherwell and it’s no surprise the Newco coaches were interested in him. Media photographs of him this morning suggest he’s a tad out of shape, but if he can recapture his Motherwell form he will be a solid SPFL player.
When Niall McGinn went to Korea in the summer it appeared to signal the end of an Aberdeen team which comfortably established itself as the second best in Scotland – recording a Best of the Rest treble last season. Considering the departures from Pittodrie, and manager Derek McInnes’ dalliances with other clubs, it is surprising Aberdeen have managed to hold onto second spot.
They will need McGinn back at his productive best if they are to finish the season in second against Newco (caveat: if the latter remains solvent).
Celtic’s opportunity is all about transforming Lewis Morgan into the next Stuart Armstrong. As well as being the preferred destination for aspiring talent, we have the luxury of being able to plan long-term. Right now, Lewis is the most exciting prospect of all three. He will join Celtic because he wants to become a Champions League player, not fight for second place.
That will take work on the part of the player, but they know what they are doing at Lennoxtown.