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Saturday, 31 March, 2001, 02:44 GMT 03:44 UK
McPhee joins big-thinking Saints
Stephen McPhee has featured for Coventry reserves
Stephen McPhee has featured for Coventry reserves
St Mirren have had to lower their sights having reportedly failed in an audacious bid to bring Brazil's latest superstar, Ronaldinho, to Scotland in a quick-fix transfer.

The Paisley club inquired about taking the 21-year-old striker, who is bound for Paris St Germain after agreeing to a 15m transfer, on loan until the end of the season.

But on Friday the Scottish Premier League club instead signed Glasgow-born striker Stephen McPhee on loan from Coventry City.

The 19-year-old has joined up at the relegation-threatened side on loan until the end of the season.

McPhee will start on the bench on Saturday as St Mirren take on Dunfermline Athletic.

Sensitive legal matters

St Mirren had hoped to sign an experienced striker to boost their goals tally and had previously been linked with the likes of Benito Carbone, Jorge Cadete and Bebeto.

With the Brazilian season ended, Ronaldinho is technically out of contract at his old club, Gremio, until he moves to Paris.

Ronaldhino in action for Brazil
Ronaldhino in action for Brazil
That alerted Saints manager Tom Hendrie, who has contacts in South America, to the chance of picking up the young goal sensation before Saturday's signing deadline.

Hendry told the Daily Record: "It was always going to be a long shot, but he's out of contract and not playing football.

"But there are sensitive legal matters going on in Brazil and the FA there refused his release.

"I am very disappointed.It almost seems bizarre that we are talking about a player of that quality who could have played for St Mirren."

Saints also suffered another disappointment in their search for a goalscorer when former Newcastle United favourite Temuri Ketsbaia turned down a loan deal at Love Street.

The Georgian international's current club, Wolverhampton Wanderers, had agreed terms with Saints, but the player refused.

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See also:

30 Mar 01 |  Scot Prem
SPL weekend preview
18 Mar 01 |  St Mirren
McGarry offers an answer
10 Mar 01 |  St Mirren
St Mirren knock back Bebeto
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