Scottish Football: Celtic in need of fresh input from Falconer

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The Independent Online
LOU MACARI, the Celtic manager, is hoping to sign Willie Falconer from Sheffield United for pounds 350,000 today as he continues to dabble in the transfer market in an effort to reshape his side, writes David McKinney.

On the evidence of Saturday's display against Raith Rovers he must hope the former Aberdeen player makes a telling return to Scottish football. Manager and player have agreed terms and Macari will speak to Dave Bassett today when United return from Dubai.

With Falconer an interested spectator, Celtic came close to embarrassment against the side second from bottom in the Premier Division, with Raith having the better of the game. How Macari must wish he had the pace and attack demonstrated by the Raith trio of Colin Cameron, Stephen Crawford and Jason Dair as they tormented the Celtic defence. Only a goal-line clearance by Mark McNally and a brave block by Tony Mowbray spared Celtic's blushes.

The Parkhead side were one of several clubs involved in the transfer market over the weekend, with Kilmarnock signing Alan McInally, the former Celtic, Aston Villa and Bayern Munich striker, on a pay-per- game basis until the end of the season. Despite his powerful presence, however, Kilmarnock could only draw 0-0 with St Johnstone.

Another player returning to his roots is Ray McKinnon, the former Dundee United midfielder, who has joined Aberdeen from Nottingham Forest for pounds 300,000 and will be needed to help the Dons' title challenge, which suffered a setback in a 3-1 defeat by Hibernian.

Aberdeen's defeat, coupled with a 1-1 draw between Motherwell and Hearts, allowed Rangers to move clear at the top thanks to a 5-1 demolition of Partick Thistle. The drawing power of the Ibrox club will be demonstrated this week when First Division Dumbarton create a new club record by signing Calum Campbell, the Kilmarnock striker, for pounds 80,000, a deal financed by their Tennents Scottish Cup tie at Ibrox last week.

The winner of the Alloa against Ross County third-round tie this week can anticipate a similar pay day, with a visit to Ibrox in round four the prize.

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