Preston North End signed Ali McCann from St Johnstone with just five seconds to spare at the end of the transfer window – as Celtic plotted a late move (Sun).

The Northern Ireland international has moved to the English Championship for a fee of around £1.2 million, a deal which could break the Scottish Premiership side’s transfer record of £1.75 million. Celtic were also keen on the midfielder and scouted him twice as Saints won the League Cup and Scottish Cup double last season.

Ukraine v Northern Ireland - International Friendly

Celtic were also keen on McCann. (Photo by Stanislav Vedmid/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

It was ‘feared’ at Deepdale that if McCann was not to move to England before the 11PM deadline on Tuesday, Celtic may have snuck in. Scotland’s transfer window was open for an extra hour, allowing room for the Parkhead club to maneuver.

But McCann has made the move south, as has captain Jason Kerr, who joined Wigan Athletic from St Johnstone just hours previous. It was two blows for manager Callum Davidson but the influential duo were swiftly replaced by midfielder Cammy MacPherson and Belgian centre-back Lars Dendoncker.

McCann meets his new teammates next Thursday after international duty with Northern Ireland, saying of the move: “I’m just looking forward to that. That’ll be the first introduction to all the lads so it can’t come quick enough.  It’s a brand new start, a new introduction to everyone, so I’m sure it’ll be a nervy time next Thursday!”

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