SPL transfers: Hartley heads to Hoops

February 1, 2007

Scottish Premier League leaders Celtic showed their dominance over Rangers extended to off the field as well as on it when they clinched a deal for Hearts midfielder Paul Hartley from under the noses of their arch-rivals.

The 30-year-old - who was also a target for Ibrox boss Walter Smith - moved to Parkhead for £1million, agreeing a two-and-a-half-year contract.

However, the Hoops did not have it all their own way, with forward Shaun Maloney linking up with former Celtic boss Martin O'Neill at Villa Park in a £1million deal minutes before the window closed.

The 24-year-old Scotland international Maloney will also be reunited with midfielder Stiliyan Petrov, who moved from the Bhoys to Villa in August for £6million, plus veteran striker Chris Sutton, who is currently sidelined with blurred vision.

Maloney's transfer fee is only a fraction of that paid for Petrov because he was out of contract with Celtic in the summer after refusing to sign a new long term deal believed to be worth around £18,000 a week.

Celtic also allowed 22-year-old reserve-team captain Paul Lawson, a midfielder, to join St Mirren on loan until the end of the season.

Rangers' failure to add to their squad, and the absence of any movement regarding Hearts' Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon, provided the other interest on the last day of the January transfer window.

Moves for Wigan's Lee McCulloch or Falkirk's Alan Gow will now have to wait until the summer.

Hearts began the day hopeful of selling both Hartley and Gordon, however, a £10million valuation on the latter meant he was always unlikely to leave Tynecastle despite being linked with Fulham, West Ham, Bayern Munich and the Moscow sides Lokomotiv and Spartak.

Hartley became Celtic's fourth capture of the transfer window, the Hoops having registered former Hearts captain Steven Pressley at the start of the month, following his release from the Tynecastle club in December.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle goalkeeper Mark Brown followed as back-up to Artur Boruc, before Jean-Joel Perrier-Doumbe arrived on a six-month loan deal from Rennes last week.

Hearts signed four new players but saw their move for Spartak Nalchik midfielder Gogita Gogua collapse.

Gogua was announced as a new signing by Ivanauskas on January 25, however the club were refused a work permit for the 23-year-old Georgia international.

The disappointment of losing out on Gogua was offset by confirmation of the signing of Ghanaian midfielder Laryea Kingston from Terek Grozny.

Ivanauskas had announced the deal for the 26-year-old last week, but the finishing touches were lacking and were completed yesterday.

Linas Pilibaitis, Tomas Kancelskis and Arnus Lekevicius became the latest FBK Kaunas players to move to Tynecastle.