Northern Ireland international completes League One switch after being snatched from St Mirren's grasp
Northern Ireland full-back Ryan McLaughlin has completed a move to Rochdale after the League One club launched a bid in the nick of time to steal the signing from under Oran Kearney's nose.
McLaughlin, 24, had already driven to Scotland with a deal to join St Mirren on loan all agreed until Rochdale sneaked in with an offer of a permanent transfer lodged with Blackpool.
The move has now been completed for an undisclosed fee as the right-back looks to kick-start his career, having managed just six starts for Blackpool since his summer transfer from Oldham.
“I’m really excited and delighted to be here,” McLaughlin told the Rochdale website after signing an 18 month deal.
“I’ve played against Rochdale over the last two or three years so I know the brand of football that the team plays and I think it suits me.
“I’ve played League One football for the last few seasons so I know what the league is about. I know I can do well for the team - it’s just about proving that. I can’t wait get to get started.”
McLaughlin has enjoyed just one season of regular football, when he made 31 League One starts for Oldham back in 16/17.
As such, he has made only five senior appearances for Northern Ireland, all in friendly matches but will hope this move can finally ignite his international career.
However, it's a transfer that is the cause of much frustration for St Mirren boss Kearney, who was convinced he was about to land the player in a significant boost to his side's Scottish Premiership survival hopes.
"That one has been and gone," he confirmed on Tuesday.
"We had that sorted yesterday. Ryan was driving up last night, we had all the paperwork done.
"Then Blackpool received a bid for him. They called Ryan as he was approaching Glasgow and asked him to turn the car around. So he's driven back down the road again and that one's now history.
"It is frustrating but that's football. Someone once told me you should never get carried away with a signing until the signature is on the paper. That one is probably the closest I've ever come before having it taken away.
"Ryan is gone now as far as I'm concerned so it's onto the next one. We've still got a couple of deals pretty much done but where we are in the food chain means we're in the hands of other clubs. The whole thing relies on certain business getting done higher up the chain and when it does, a chain reaction follows and players move on."