Paul Third: Dons shaping up well after busy transfer window

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has every reason to be feeling good about himself after adding another central defender to his squad just before the midnight deadline on the final day of the transfer window.

Dominic Ball’s season-loan from Rotherham United represents a solid piece of business at Pittodrie.

A player with previous experience of Scottish football following his spell with Rangers, the 22-year-old was the eighth and final signing of the window for the Dons and he will add competition to an area in need of reinforcements at the club.

He joins Greg Tansey, Greg Stewart, Nicky Maynard, Kari Arnason, Ryan Christie, Gary Mackay-Steven and Stevie May in replenishing a Dons squad which lost several first team players following the Scottish Cup final.

Rewind to early June and it was a gloomy scene at the Dons but the case can certainly be made that the Aberdeen squad now is stronger than the one which played at Hampden in May.

Add in £100,000 from the sale of Jayden Stockley, a player who was popular within Pittodrie but unlikely to command a regular place, and it represents a more than decent couple of months of transfer activity.

It was one in, one out on deadline day for the Dons on a day where there was little of note in terms of actual activity.

While Aberdeen tweaked their squad, rivals Rangers added Wales international Declan John on a season-loan from Cardiff City while Joe Dodoo left Ibrox to join Charlton on loan.

The seemingly never-ending talks with Hearts for Jamie Walker ultimately ended in stalemate with the player, who is expected to sign a pre-contract agreement with the Gers in January, remaining at Tynecastle.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was the lack of defensive cover at champions Celtic. French forward Odsonne Edouard joined from Paris Saint-Germain on a season-long loan with the Hoops having an option to buy the 19-year-old.

But there was no sign of the central defender Brendan Rodgers so dearly wanted with target Jason Denayer opting for a move to Galatasaray instead of a return to Parkhead.

His absence will make little difference domestically but whether the Hoops backline will be strong enough for the rigours of the Champions League remains to be seen.

It’s as you were at Ross County and Caley Thistle, where neither club did business, perhaps surprisingly given their respective starts in the Premiership and Championship respectively.

Finance, or squad size, will likely have been factors in the lack of movement in the Highlands.