Jack Simpson and Scott Wright will get the chance to play a part in Rangers’ title run-in after the champions-elect rushed through their deadline day signings.
Bournmouth defender Simpson and Aberdeen winger Wright were both due to make their Ibrox switches in the summer on pre-contracts.
But they will now join up with Steven Gerrard’s squad immediately on four-and-a-half year terms after Gers chiefs struck deals to welcome them both to Glasgow ahead of the midnight cut-off.
The Light Blues have paid an undisclosed fee to fast-track Simpson’s move from the Cherries, while Aberdeen have been given a £150,000 discount on Ross McCrorie’s Pittodrie switch, the PA news agency understands.
Gers agreed to slash the £350,000 fee they had agreed with the Dons to make McCrorie’s loan move permanent in the summer and the Scotland Under-21 captain will now become an Aberdeen player outright.
Rangers decided to push ahead with both deals after allowing Brandon Barker and George Edmundson to join Oxford and Derby on loan.
Gerrard told the club’s website: “We are delighted to have Jack here. We have been aware of him for some time and excited to finally have him.
“Clearly it’s a bonus to have him here now earlier than initially planned. His presence makes us stronger and we are all looking forward to working with him.”
On Wright’s move the Ibrox boss added: “It is very pleasing to have Scott for the rest of this season. This will give him the opportunity to gain some valuable game time in a blue shirt for the rest of the season.
“Scott is a player that I have admired and I believe that we can utilise his skill set within our system. He will train with his new teammates tomorrow.”
Celtic also left it late to make their only signing of the January window as they announced the loan capture of Everton’s Jonjoe Kenny.
The Toffees right-back – who has made 48 first-team appearances for the Goodison outfit – comes in as a short-term replacement for Jeremie Frimpong following the Dutchman’s departure to Bayer Leverkusen last week.
The deal was announced just just two-and-a-half hours before the deadline but it is better late than never for the Parkhead support, who have been crying out for fresh recruits to help Neil Lennon’s struggling outfit.
Lennon – speaking earlier on Monday – said: “He’s a player I have liked for a while. He is at Everton obviously and had a very good career at England Under-21 level and I watched quite a bit of him last season when he was on loan at Schalke.
“I like his qualities, his enthusiasm for the game, his character, and I think he will bring that to the team. He is a bubbly sort of personality and he plays that way as well.”
Celtic had hoped to complete a pre-contract deal for centre-back Ben Davies but were beaten to his signature by English champions Liverpool, who have now signed the 25-year-old from Preston.
“It’s a blow because we were very close to doing that and obviously we got gazumped at the last minute by Liverpool,” Lennon added. “(We’re) disappointed but we move on. It’s not the first time it’s happened to us or myself as a manager.”
Lennon is understood to have rejected loan offers for defender Stephen Welsh and confirmed Celtic were looking at other centre-back options, while midfielder Olivier Ntcham has completed his long-expected loan move back to France after joining Marseille for the remainder of the campaign.
“I think he is looking for a fresh start, or to progress his career elsewhere, and he has made that clear over a long period of time,” Lennon said.
Aberdeen acted swiftly to beef up their striking options after Curtis Main was allowed to join Shrewsbury on a free just 24 hours after Sam Cosgrove’s £2million move to Birmingham by bringing in three replacements.
Scotland Under-21 and Reims striker Fraser Hornby, former Hibernian and Rangers hitman Florian Kamberi – who has been playing for St Gallen this season – and St Johnstone’s Callum Hendry all arrived before the midnight deadline after agreeing six-month loan switches to Pittodrie.
Dons youngster Bruce Anderson has joined Hamilton on loan for the remainder of the campaign, while Accies have released striker Tunde Owolabi and midfielder Justin Johnson.
There was a boost for Hibernian as they fought of interest in both Kevin Nisbet and Ryan Porteous following interest from Birmingham and Millwall respectively.
However, there may be some patching up to do with Nisbet after the striker reportedly handed in a transfer request before Blues gave up on their pursuit.
There were a couple of loan departures from Easter Road, however, as Stevie Mallan packed up for Turkish Super Lig side Malatyaspor and Jamie Gullan to Raith Rovers.
Managerless Kilmarnock made a late double loan swoop, securing Arsenal defender Zech Medley and Crystal Palace forward Brandon Pierrick on six-month deals.
It was a good night for Motherwell, who not only wrapped up deadline day loan deals for Hearts wideman Jordan Roberts and Crewe defender Eddie Nolan but also handed Scotland defender Stephen O’Donnell another six-month extension, meaning he will see out the season at Fir Park.
Midfielder Robbie Crawford’s loan switch from Livi was also made permanent after he was dealed in until the end of the season.
Livingston and St Mirren were left disappointed as their hoped for new recruits failed to materialise but St Johnstone did sign 21-year-old former Arsenal midfielder Charlie Gilmour until the end of the season.