CHRIS SUTTON reckons Steven Gerrard’s £7million signing of Ryan Kent at the eleventh hour on Monday’s midnight deadline was a PANIC buy.
The former Celtic striking hero is convinced the champions’ deserved 2-0 triumph at Ibrox the previous day brought about the knee-jerk reaction from their city neighbours.
And Sutton, now a media pundit, believes that talk of the unwanted Anfield winger being a game-changer in this campaign is “bordering on the hysterical”.
And the one-time England international frontman also ponders why Gerrard brought in a platoon of wide players when he still had his eye on Kent right until the last possible moment in the transfer window.
On the face of it, it hardly emphasises a long-term purchasing strategy.
Sutton, speaking in the Daily Record, said: “If Rangers signing the winger from Liverpool wasn’t down to sheer panic in the wake of the defeat to Celtic last Sunday, then I don’t know what is.
“Kent is a good player. I even suggested at the end of last season that Celtic should try to get him to boost the squad.
STRIKING SUCCESS? Ryan Kent adopts unusual tactics in a vain attempt to get the better of Scott Brown.
“But it seems that, in the eyes of the Rangers supporters, Kent’s signing is a game-changer. The last-ditch transfer window strike which is going to tilt the title odds back in their favour.
“At best, that is optimistic. At worst, it’s bordering on hysterical.
“I’ve no axe to grind with Kent. He’s got talent and did well in the games against Celtic last season when he was on loan. He tortured Mikael Lustig in one and scored in another. But that Parkhead strike was his only one in the last four months of the season.
“I’d imagine he’ll make a positive contribution to Steven Gerrard’s team, but is he going to be the difference in the race for the league flag? I’d doubt it. I can’t see how he is really going to make such a whopping difference.
“Outside of the Old Firm matches, Rangers dropped points in 13 other games in the league last season. Kent played in nine of them.
“When it came to losing the big Cup-ties against Aberdeen in both competitions which denied the club the chance to win any silverware, Kent played in the Betfred Cup semi-final loss at Hampden and the Scottish Cup quarter-final replay defeat at Ibrox.”
Sutton added: “I’m also doubting the strategy which brought the signing about. Rangers, of course, will tell you he was always the one they wanted. That’s what clubs say. You can’t blame them. They have to dress it up.
“But if Kent was the one they were always going to get, why sign Jordan Jones? Why sign Sheyo Ojo? Why sign Jake Hastie? Why sign Greg Stewart?
“Mind you, given the fact Gerrard has been allowed to sign about 25 players since he walked in the front door of Ibrox just over a year ago, maybe it shouldn’t be that much of a shock.
“Nonetheless, it makes no sense to me. If that was the strategy all along, then it puzzles me.
“I’m more inclined to think the situation changed dramatically in the wake of the loss to Celtic and it was a big outlay designed to appease fans who had just had their hope ripped away.
“Let me put this another way. If Rangers had thumped Celtic 3-0, do you think Kent would have been signed the following day?
“I might be wrong, but I don’t.”
NEW BHOY…Greg Taylor with his Celtic shirt after Monday’s arrival.
Since the deal was finalised, on an evening when Neil Lennon brought in Scotland international left-back Greg Taylor, from Kilmarnock, and exciting teenage defenders Lee O’Connor (Manchester United) and Jeremie Frimpong (Manchester City), there has been the expected outpouring from Govan about the cash splash being a declaration of intent.
CQN would like to take the opportunity of pointing out Kent cost £7million. In another life, Dick Advocaat spent a Scottish transfer record fee of a remarkable £12million on Norwegian striker Tore Andre Flo in November 2000.
Like Sutton, he arrived from Chelsea. Unlike Sutton, he failed to deliver.
It didn’t end well for the beanpole frontman. He was on his bike two years later with Sunderland picking up the misfit for about half the Ibrox side’s outlay.
A few years later he was playing for MK Dons where he failed to score a solitary goal in 13 appearances.
Spending money does not guarantee success. In the season Flo arrived at Ibrox, Martin O’Neill led Celtic to the club’s third domestic treble.