Rangers wait, Grant swoops

CHRIS LAKEY It was a Sunday lunchtime phone call during a spying mission at Wolves which confirmed that City boss and former Celtic player Peter Grant had got one over his old adversaries from Ibrox.

CHRIS LAKEY

It was a Sunday lunchtime phone call during a spying mission at Wolves which confirmed that City boss and former Celtic player Peter Grant had got one over his old adversaries from Ibrox.

The call was from Mark Fotheringham and the message was simple: "I'm saying no to Rangers and I want to sign for Norwich."

Ally that to the fact that St Mirren had finally relented and were willing to sell Simon Lappin, and Grant had completed a good weekend's work on the transfer front.


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Fotheringham began his career at Celtic, moved to Dundee and then headed into Europe, first with German club Freiburg and then with Aarau, of Switzerland.

The wanderlust wore off a few weeks ago and the 23-year-old went home and trained with Ranger. But while Walter Smith was keen to sign him but lingered too long. Grant swooped, Fotheringham thought it over - and decided to try his hand in England.

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"I have known Mark for a long time, since he was a young boy at Celtic, and I know all about his talent," said Grant. "He played in Scotland for a long time and then he went abroad and learned his trade in Germany and Switzerland, so I am surprised we have had the opportunity to get him.

"But as soon as I knew he was available I spoke to a few people about it and it was just a matter of trying to get him here because obviously Rangers were very close to doing something with Mark.

"He had been training with them last week, and to be fair to the boy, when I had spoken to him he had made his mind up to stay with Rangers.

"Then on Sunday when I was at the Wolves game I got a surprising phone call from Mark himself saying he was going to knock the Rangers thing on the head."

Fotheringham is still only 23 - and Grant is convinced the wanderlust has done him good, saying: "I think he has come back a more mature and better player. He has this trick he does, but I think he realises now it is not about tricks, it's how you get knowledge of the game and understanding of the game.

"I think he went away and has grown with that, playing with better players and a better standard of football and doing extremely well.

"He is one I have watched very closely in that respect, not thinking he would be coming back to the UK as quickly as he did. Now it is up to him to take that responsibility. We know he has got the talent, now it's up to him to show it."

Fotheringham is, literally, quite a different ball game, with the Fozzy Flick a speciality - although Grant was probably deadly serious when, with a smile on his face, he was asked if his new midfielder would be allowed to show it off in the heat of the Championship.

"If we are four or five up with about 30 seconds to go," he said. "I'll let him do it in training."

Anyone who recalls how he hooked Lee Croft for a back heel when City were 4-0 up at Tamworth recently will probably decide he's serious.

Lappin's arrival goes some way to addressing the imbalance issue that has concerned Grant since his arrival - with Jason Shackell and Adam Drury, Lappin makes up a triumvirate of natural left-footed players.

"He is a natural left-footer, an under-21 international and he has done very well from all reports I have. They have all been very positive and I just felt that for the value we are getting for him it was just too good an opportunity to miss."

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