Scott McDonald leaves Celtic for Middlesbrough

Off soutth: McDonald will link up with former boss Strachan at Middlesbrough
Off soutth: McDonald will link up with former boss Strachan at Middlesbrough

Scott McDonald has left Celtic to join former manager Gordon Strachan at Middlesbrough. The Australian striker completed the move to the Championship side just minutes before the English transfer window closed in what has been a stunning day of transfer activity for Celtic.

The clubs had been in talks over a fee for several days and it is understood that McDonald travelled south earlier today before Celtic had accepted a bid from Middlesbrough. Agreement was reached in mid-afternoon and the Australian finalised his personal terms before the registration period finished at 5pm.

McDonald has been continually linked with a move south of the border since Tony Mowbray took the reins at Celtic Park. Wigan Athletic seemed likely suitors for the striker's signature but when Gordon Strachan was appointed as Middlesbrough manager the Championship club entered the reckoning.

Strachan has already taken a number of his former players to the Riverside Stadium, having signed Barry Robson, Willo Flood and Chris Killen on permanent transfers and taking Stephen McManus on loan. McDonald was one of Celtic's more valuable assets though, and it is likely that the club had to wait until the £7 milllion transfer of Adam Johnson to Manchester City was completed before they could match Celtic's demands.

McDonald moved to Celtic at the start of the 2007/08 season from Motherwell for a fee of £700,000. Though a Celtic fan, "Skippy" had scored twice against the club on the last day of the 2003/04 season to deny them the SPL title.

Celtic's top scorer last season, the Australian made 99 appearances for Celtic, scoring 50 times. But McDonald found his first team appearances restricted after Mowbray's arrival, with Marc-Antoine Fortune and Georgios Samaras preferred in forward positions.

The addition of Morten Rasmussen to the Celtic squad appears to sealed McDonald's fate and left him looking for a new club to secure regular football ahead of the World Cup in South Africa. It may also be that the fee realised for McDonald was part of the arithmetic that allowed Celtic to move for Robbie Keane.

Gordon Strachan added another SPL player to his Middlesbrough squad before the transfer deadline. Aberdeen striker lee Miller signed on at the club for a fee believed to be in the region of £500,000. The striker's contract at Pittodrie was due to expire at the end of the season.

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