It really did seem as if the ‘done deal’ signs could be posted on the never-ending Nikica Jelavic saga when the striking striker was given permission by Rapid Vienna to join Rangers.
Despite the expectations of the arrival of the ‘crown jewel’ summer signing someone at Rangers forgot to look into employment legislation with Jelavic requiring a work permit to play in the UK.
With Croatia outwith the European Union the striker has to meet a number of criteria before being able to work in the UK.
Playing in 80% of a countries international matches ensures an automatic permit but with just six caps to his name, only one from a competitive international, Rangers will need to mount an appeal to the Department of Employment to sign Jelavic.
“It’s been quite a protracted one,” Walter Smith said in something of an understatement earlier today. “There has been a few hitches and Martin Bain has had to work extremely hard to get that one over the line.
“We will hopefully do that this afternoon and fingers crossed that’s the case. The player over that time has always said that he would like to join us and hopefully that can be completed this afternoon.”
After weeks of protracted negotiations it’s hard to believe that Rangers hadn’t done their homework on the work permit issue.
Emilio Izaguirre is the latest Celtic player to require a work permit. The Honduran’s appeal was granted on Wednesday with 44 international appearances to his name.