Former Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has said that Celtic have missed an opportunity with Ali McCann, who left St Johnstone for Preston North End in a deadline day move. McCann had been heavily linked with Celtic throughout the window but no move transpired, as the Paradise side refused to meet Saints’ valuation for the midfielder. As it turns out, Preston managed to nab him for less than this as the player indicated he wanted to move.
Now, McInnes told his Sunday Mail column (via Glasgow Live) that Celtic should have taken a punt at £1.2m – which has been suggested for the fee that Preston paid.
“McCann lacks a bit of finesse and quality with his final pass and he could probably score more goals, but he has everything else.
“He handled St Johnstone’s European games and is now an international performer with Northern Ireland.
“He is a responsible midfielder, a real competitor who knows his job and is good on the ball. I have played and managed in the English Championship and he will deal with that fine.
“I am just surprised and disappointed that neither player (McCann or Jason Kerr) has stayed in the Scottish league.
“McCann would have been an easy one for Celtic or Rangers to take and such a hard one for Callum to replace.”
The 21-year-old had been watched by Celtic before and could add some additional strength in the middle of the park for the club. The high energy performance against Galatasaray earlier this summer was part of an incredible eighteen months in the centre of the park for the Perth side. He was a key part of Callum Davidson’s side that won the Double but made it clear to the club that he wanted to move on, meaning Celtic have only brought in James McCarthy and Liam Shaw to replace Scott Brown, Olivier Ntcham and Ryan Christie.
Celtic signed 12 players during the window but the departure of Ryan Christie appeared to open the door for a late move for the Northern Ireland Internationalist. However, no move transpired and he completed a move to the Championship.