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Plans and Gut Punches for Scotland’s Big Clubs

I had planned to file this column from Glasgow. However, we’re sure you remember what boxer Mike Tyson allegedly said about plans and punches in the mouth. No, we didn’t take a hit to the gob, but the missus slipped on ice and broke her arm on the day we were scheduled to leave for Glasgow. Alas, the trip was off. (Good thing, too, what with flights in Scotland and elsewhere cancelled due to multiple named storms in the region.) Anyway, things haven’t gone according to plan either recently for several of Scotland’s big clubs.

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In Govan, Rangers manager Philippe Clement has suggested that the club will need to increase the size of its squad next season if the Ibrox men are to successfully negotiate their domestic and European fixtures. This need has become even more urgent, given that the Scottish Professional Football League has recently announced plans (there’s that word again) to scrap the Premiership’s winter break, beginning next season.

As of this writing, ’Gers are close to finalizing a deal for Nordsjaelland midfielder Mohamed Diomande, with reports suggesting he’s due to arrive in Glasgow (unlike us) for a medical this week. The 22-year-old comes on a £4.5m fee, and will reportedly sign a long-term contract. Still, Clement has told the media he won’t be “content and confident” for the second half of the season without more additions to the squad during the final week of the winter transfer window.

His counterpart across the city, Celtic’s Brendan Rodgers, may be having similar thoughts. Winger Nicolas Kuhn has already come in this month, but planned (ahem) additions at left back and goalkeeper remain unfulfilled as of this writing.

Hoped-for outgoings (i.e., James McCarthy) have also yet to cross the line, while clubs are circling two of the Bhoys’ best players, Cameron Carter-Vickers (West Ham) and Matt O’Riley (Atletico Madrid). Rodgers has promised the club aren’t looking to sell players of this stature, but supporters likely aren’t planning (ugh) on relaxing until the window closes.

Meanwhile, in the northeast, struggling Aberdeen are PLANNING to keep forward Bojan Miovski in the fold (Celtic are reportedly among the clubs interested). However, with the Dons sitting seventh in the table and manager Barry Robson on the hot seat, Miovski may desire more stability.

Finally, despite being one of Scotland’s biggest clubs (and currently sitting third in the league), Hearts are browsing the bargain bins this window. Reports suggest the Tynecastle club are still hoping to bring in midfielder Scott Fraser on loan from Charlton Athletic but that seems unlikely to satisfy the high expectations of their supporters. Unless they have no plans to do so.

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