Will McGhee's transfer gamble pay off?

Unless we count Celtic's cherry picking of Anthony Stokes from Hibernian, there was no marquee deadline day transfer signing north of the border that really caught the imagination.

However the bizarre swap of Aberdeen full back Richard Foster for Rangers' Lithuanian misfit Andrius Velicka did raise a few eyebrows, particularly in the Granite City.

At first glance this deal appeared to be a better exchange for Rangers than the Dons - Foster is a decent full back blessed with fantastic pace. He is far from the finished article but can operate effectively on the right or left of defence and can also be trusted to fulfill a tireless man-marking shift in the centre of midfield when required.

On the other hand, the enigmatic Velicka is a striker that has spent far more time on the treatment table than in the penalty box of opponents since moving to Ibrox from Hearts. He undoubtedly possesses a predatory instinct in front of goal - he scored five times in his nine games for Rangers - but he has rarely featured since joining from Tynecastle. He was loaned to Bristol City a year ago but his season lasted only 11 minutes after rupturing his cruciate ligament.

The 31-year-old may turn out to be the man who scores the goals that take the Dons back to Europe or to a cup final but he heads to the Granite City with no guarantees, only question marks over his fitness. But if he can stay free from injury he would be expected to chip in with more than his fair share of goals.

The swap deal has, however, left Mark McGhee with an abundance of strikers at his disposal with summer signings Josh Magennis and Scott Vernon as well as Chris Maguire, Darren Mackie and Michael Paton all joining Velicka in the battle to start in attack.

While the Dons boss may be blessed with several striking options, his defensive cover is more questionable.

It is strange that McGhee allowed Foster and promising youngster Stirling Smith - on loan to Dumbarton - to leave Pittodrie while he was already short of defenders, particularly in the left back position.

The Rangers supporters probably won't be overly excited about the capture of Foster but he may prove to be a useful utility player for Walter Smith over the course of the season. The Dons supporters have a frosty relationship with their Rangers counterparts at the best of times so it will be interesting to see the reception Foster receives when he returns to Pittodrie with his new side later this month.

Elsewhere, Anthony Stokes' transfer from Hibernian to Celtic for a fee somewhere in the region of £1.2 million should be a good bit of business for both sides. The Irishman has a proven goalscoring record in the SPL, hitting the net 23 times for Hibs last term and netting 15 in 17 during his time at Falkirk. The money will also be a welcome boost for the Easter Road side in these perilous financial times.

Many Scottish football fans bemoan the Old Firm for 'stealing' their best players but, just as it is always better to gamble amongst your friends, it can only help football north of the border if that sort of money is spent within these shores rather than handed to foreign clubs from continental Europe.

Meanwhile, Scott Severin could prove a shrewd acquisition for Peter Houston's Dundee United. The Arabs have been leaking goals this term, including four to newly promoted Inverness Caledonian Thistle, and Severin's experience could help stem the tide.

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