Celtic had a very transfer deadline day as they signed three new players and extended the contract of another player, while one departed for pastures new.
Dundee United duo Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay Steven have joined Celtic after the two clubs finally agreed on a deal hours before the midnight deadline. With Mackay Steven already heading to Parkhead in the summer following a pre-contract agreement being signed, Celtic handed over £250,000 to sign the winger now.
The deal for both Armstrong and MacKay Steven was around £2m plus add-ons. Armstrong signs a three and a half year deal with Celtic, while Mackay Steven signed on for four and a half years. Both players’ final game for United was the League Cup semi final triumph over Aberdeen which saw the Tannadice side progress to the final to face Celtic. Neither player will be eligible for that Cup final and are also cup tied for Celtic’s Scottish Cup campaign.
Stuart Armstrong admitted that the lure of Celtic was too strong to resist. Speaking to the official Celtic website, Armstrong said: “It’s been a long day with lots of twists and turns but I’m really happy to be here and delighted that I’m going to be part of this club,” he said in an exclusive interview.
“It’s a surreal feeling at the minute and there is a lot to take in. I’m really happy to be here. It was a great five-and-a-half years with Dundee United but this opportunity was too good to turn down.
“It’s not quite sunk in. There is still a lot to think about and to get used to and I’m really looking forward to that. Hopefully I can provide a bit of excitement and goals going forward. The fans probably know a bit about me but I would like to show them a bit more.
“I take each game as it comes and I will aim to get off to the best possible start here and do my best for the club.”
Armstrong added: “I know a few of the guys but it’s nice to have a good friend [Mackay Steven] alongside side and ease my way into the team. Football is full of change so everything will be okay.”
Mackay Steven, speaking following his transfer to the league leaders, commented: “It’s amazing to finally be here and for it all to be done and dusted. It’s what I wanted and I’m happy to be here.
“The pre-contract happened a few weeks ago and I was delighted back then but I was unsure if it was going to be now or if I’d be joining in the summer, but to get it all done and dusted is great and I just can’t wait to start. I want to just play my first game here and everything is just a dream. I can’t wait to get started.
“It has been a crazy couple of hours. I wasn’t sure at the start of the day whether it would go through but thankfully it did and the medical got done so it’s great to sign on the dotted line. Having Stuart here is an added bonus. He’s all sorted as well and he’s a great bonus to Celtic as well and that’s just the icing on the cake. First and foremost though, I’m just buzzing.”
He continued: “I like to get at teams and I like to dribble with the ball and take on players. I want to add some creativity to the array of talent that’s already here. I just want to add to that and hopefully I can hit the ground running.
“Celtic is a massive club with a massive fan-base. I played here as part of an away team and the support from the fans is incredible. There’s a lot of ability in the Celtic team, they play a lot of good football on the ground which suits my game so it’s a bit of everything.
“My first game running out on to the pitch will be special but I just can’t wait to join up with the boys in training and get stuck in.”
Celtic have also signed Derry City midfielder Michael Duffy and extended defender Eoghan O’Connell stay at Parkhead after the 19-year-old signed a new two-year contract extension with Ronny Deila’s side, committing his future at the club until the summer of 2017.
Meanwhile, former Celtic manager Neil Lennon has raided his former side to sign midfielder Filip Twardzik for Bolton Wanderers for an undisclosed fee, agreeing a deal until 2017.