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Page last updated at 11:01 GMT, Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Saints take Drogheda's Gartland

Graham Gartland challenges Scotland's Chris Iwelumo
Gartland (left) played for Ireland B against Scotland's second string

St Johnstone have signed 25-year-old former Drogheda United central defender Graham Gartland until the summer.

Gartland could make his debut away to Ross County on Saturday should he gain international clearance after leaving the Eircom Premier League outfit.

Ipswich Town had a 250,000 offer for Gartland rejected six months ago.

And Saints say there was interest in the defender, who had spells with Dundee United and Barnsley, from two SPL clubs and Scandinavian outfits.

Saints manager Derek McInnes told his club website that Gartland had impressed him playing in the League of Ireland and for Republic of Ireland B against their Scottish counterparts.

"He has a reputation as a good, steady professional, he's athletic and has done very well in the Irish League in recent seasons," he said.

We released Andy Lawrie, Allan McManus and Goran Stanic last summer and have not really replaced them

St Johnstone manager
Derek McInnes

"I've felt since the start of the season that we needed another centre half.

"We released Andy Lawrie, Allan McManus and Goran Stanic last summer and have not really replaced them."

McInnes said that, although Gartland has signed until the end of the season after leaving cash-strapped Drogheda, he hoped that the player could be persuaded to extend his stay.

The manager stressed that, although Gartland could also play left-back, he would be mainly used in central defence.

Gartland's arrival comes a couple of days after the First Division leaders signed Hibernian left-back Paul Hanlon, who can also play in central defence.

Meanwhile, Euan McLean's recovery from a fractured finger has meant an end to veteran John Hillcoat's spell as emergency cover at McDiarmid Park.

Winger Alan Morgan has returned to Kilmarnock at the end of his loan spell with the Perth club.

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see also
St Johnstone take Hanlon on loan
26 Dec 08 |  St Johnstone


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