Football Expert & Columnist
Inverness and Dundee United stars could be transfer window targets, says Andy Walker
Inverness and Dundee United will be determined to hold onto their rising stars in January, says Andy Walker.
Last Updated: 07/01/14 12:31pm
John Hughes has only been in the Highlands for a short time since taking over from Terry Butcher and will undoubtedly recognise the importance of Billy McKay, the club's top scorer.
Given his goalscoring record over the last few seasons, it's no surprise that the Northern Ireland international is attracting attention having already scored 17 goals from 25 appearances, making him the current SPFL top marksman.
With a return of 27 goals last season, there has been talk of a bid in the region of £1m from Peterborough Utd. Darren Ferguson is keen for someone to spearhead his club's promotion bid from League 1 and McKay may well fit the bill.
He has just 18 months of his contract to run and, if the bid gets anywhere near the million mark, my guess is Inverness Caley Thistle will do business.
Having said that, it's a big call for the club to make when they could be on the verge of something special. This could be a momentous year for the Highland club.
They are favourites to overcome a young and inexperienced Hearts side in the League Cup semi-final next month and selling McKay at this stage of the season will diminish their chances of securing their first major trophy success.
Jackie McNamara will also be hoping to get through the month of January with his talented and exciting side intact.
Seventeen-year-old John Souttar has already attracted the attention of Sunderland while Gary Mackay-Steven, Ryan Gauld and Stuart Armstrong are also high-profile targets for Premier League and Championship clubs in England.
But it's the left back Andrew Robertson who seems likely to head south first.
Everton boss Roberto Martinez made the trip to Tannadice last weekend to see Robertson for himself in the 2-2 draw against Hibs.
After being released by Celtic a few years ago, Robertson ended up at amateur level with Queens Park before making the seamless transition to top-flight football in Scotland with Dundee United. If he does go to Everton, it will mark a meteoric rise for Robertson who has also started to receive international recognition.
In time, Everton may well be looking for a replacement for the highly sought after Leighton Baines and the 19-year-old Scot, if he continues developing at this rate, could be a candidate to replace him.
If Robertson does sign for Everton, he may well be loaned back until the end of May before joining the Goodison Park club in time for next season.
Martinez of course recognises that you can still get one or two gems in Scottish football. The Everton boss took James McCarthy and James McArthur from Hamilton Accies to Wigan and made them into international class players.
The hectic Christmas and New Year schedule wasn't the best period for Dundee United, though.
They lost away from home twice to St Mirren and St Johnstone, conceding seven goals in the process before Aberdeen scored a dramatic late winner at Tannadice on New Year's Day.
United showed their fighting spirit last weekend at home to Hibs when they came back from two goals down to secure a point with two late strikes in the last 10 minutes.