Writer: Arab Jacques
Date:Sunday December 31 2006
Dundee United have missed out on former Hearts defender Steven Pressley, after the Scotland International chose to sign an 18month deal with Celtic.
With Bobo Balde breaking his leg in the 2-2 draw with Dundee United on Boxing Day, Celtic were reported to have increased their offer to the 33-year old and it appears to have made the difference.
Pressley was reported to be signing for Charlton earlier this week, after having a medical with the Premiership side, but the defender has chosen to remain in Scotland rather than move down south.
Dundee United were hopeful that Craig Levein could talk Pressley into a move to Tannadice, but a lack of finances and no chance of a player-coaching role made it very unlikely he would be enticed back to the club.
"I'm absolutely thrilled and honoured to be joining Celtic. It's obviously taken some time but it's a fantastic opportunity for me at this age and I'm certainly looking forward to the challenges ahead," said Pressley
"I'm passionate about my football, regardless of who I play for, and hopefully that commitment will endear me to the Celtic faithful. Obviously talking to Gordon played a part in me coming to Celtic, I've been very impressed with what he's had to say and I'd like to think I've got a good relationship with him."
"And, as Gordon says, Celtic as a club sells itself. I've obviously played here over a number of years in opposing teams and it's a fantastic arena to play your football in and I'm very fortunate to be given this opportunity."
Pressley is cup tied from the Champions League competition and will be unable to play for Celtic in the next round, but is likely to cement the Parkhead side`s place at the top of the table and also improve their chances of winning the Scottish Cup as well.
Gordon Strachan was excited about his new signing, when he spoke before today`s 1-1 draw with Motherwell.
"He has worked hard. I've known him since he was a kid and he has got better every year, not only as a player, as a man. He has shown over the last few years he is an exceptional leader. He has presence, not only on the field but in the dressing room," said Strachan
"We need these kind of people at our club. Our centre-halves are young, we need a leader. My midfield players can look at Nakamura and Lennon to see how midfield play is meant to be done."
"It is easy for me when players can watch good players in their position. Steven will be the perfect example on and off the pitch of how to deal with being a centre-half and a Celtic player."
Date:Sunday December 31 2006
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