BRECHIN CITY manager Jim Weir finally completed one of the longest running transfer sagas in Scottish football last week when the club fixed up Raith Rovers’ central defender Dougie Hill on a one-month loan deal.
Hill has recovered from a broken ankle, which he sustained in a reserve match against Dunfermline Athletic in August, and is now hoping to get as many matches under his belt as possible in the coming weeks.
The 25-year-old defender first came under City’s radar during Michael O’Neill’s term of office.
However, at that time he elected to sign for Alloa Athletic after leaving Cowdenbeath.
From Alloa, where he was a highly consistent performer, Hill was spotted by Raith Rovers boss, John McGlynn, and he was brought into Starks Park to coincide with the club’s return to the first division.
Jim Weir was clearly delighted with his latest capture.
“Dougie is someone who can come in right away and play for us,” commented the manager.
“While he hasn’t had many games since breaking his ankle in August, he played against St Andrews United last week for Raith Rovers and came through unscathed.
“Dougie is a player Kevin and I have always admired. He is aggressive, attacks the ball really well and is a winner.
“While he needs games under his belt, that’s one thing we can get him here, given the amount of postponements we have to rearrange.
“We also felt it was important not to rush big Gerry McLaughlan back, although the player is making very good progress following his hernia operation.
“Hill joined us for part of the training last week and we expect to have him available for the bench by January 22 and available to start by the following Saturday.
“When you bring in players on-loan, you often feel obliged to play them every week and, while we always judge that on merit, we are certain that in Dougie we will have someone who will help us keep our excellent defensive record intact and indeed even improve on it.”
The City manager says he will decide over the next couple of weeks if he is going to add any more new faces in the January transfer window, but at present he wouldn’t rule it in or out.
“It’s an option that remains open to me should we need to bring someone else in.
“However, with the emergency loan system you can get a player at relatively short notice.
“We will take the next couple of weeks to assess how the squad is placed. However, it’s worth recognising that of the players who were on our bench at Annan on Tuesday - Gary Fusco, Jamie Redman, Mark Archdeacon and Davie Scott - are all players we would expect to start.
“We had young Mark Walker from the youth team and it may be, in the short term, that we use some of the younger players to add some depth until we can strengthen the squad further.
“We have extended Mark Archdeacon’s contract until the end of the season.
“Mark has really come out of his shell in the last few weeks and is playing with a great deal more confidence.
“While it’s hard for him with McAllister and McKenna playing well together, Mark and two or three of the other members of the squad need to remember there are a lot of games on the horizon for us.
“And he needs to continue chapping on the door for a place in the starting line up.”