Dundee United have been promoted to the Scottish Premiership after rivals Dundee finally cast a delayed vote to finish the second, third, and fourth tiers in Scotland.
That means promotion for American midfielders Ian Harkes and Dillon Powers. Harkes has made 33 appearances for United this season while Powers arrived in January and went the distance in eight out of nine starts.
Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers won the League 1 and League 2 crowns.
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Dundee had held out its vote in controversial manner, hoping for league reconstruction. It looks like they may get it, and prize money will now be released to clubs who may need it to survive.
As for the Premiership, Celtic will have to wait at least a little longer to be awarded its ninth-straight top-flight title, and it’s bid for 10 in-a-row may come in an expanded league.
From the SPFL’s official statement:
The SPFL board has also committed to consult on possible league restructuring in time for season 2020/21 around an expanded Premiership model and has appointed Hearts chair Ann Budge and Hamilton Academical chair Les Gray to jointly lead a reconstruction task force, bringing in other football figures to provide input and support. The SPFL executive will provide all possible services and support to make the work of the task force a success.
The resolution also gives authority to the board to make a decision on the remainder of the Ladbrokes Premiership season and the board is committed to consulting with Premiership clubs before any such decision is made.
Celtic leads Rangers by 13 points, though the chasers have played one fewer match.
There’s a very real chance that three or four teams, including promotion-playoff hopefuls and vote-delayers Dundee, make the top-flight a bigger division next season.
Saturday was a Scottish Cup day, and two Americans had memorable debuts in their new homes.
Tim Weah and Ian Harkes came off the bench for Celtic and Dundee United, respectively, in victories over lower league sides.
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Harkes did it in stoppage time to cap off United’s 4-0 win at Scottish League One side Montrose.
A 70th minute sub, Harkes scored in the fourth minute of stoppage when he finished across goal from the outside of the six.
Weah needed less time. The 18-year-old ran onto a through ball from Dedryck Boyata and poked it home 14 minutes after arriving on the scene against visiting Airdrieonians, also of Scottish League One.
Calm finish from the Paris Saint-Germain loanee.
Midfielder Ian Harkes, a son of former U.S. captain John Harkes, has left D.C. United to sign a two-year contract with Dundee United of Scotland’s second-tier League Championship.
The 23-year-old won the 2016 Hermann Trophy as the top U.S. college player while at Wake Forest and spent the last two seasons with D.C. in Major League Soccer. He scored two goals with two assists.
D.C. declined his 2019 option.
Ian Harke’s grandfather was born near Dundee United’s Tannadice Park. Dundee United announced the deal Wednesday.
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When Atlanta United CEO Darren Eales tweeted that the Five Stripes were about to announce a DP signing, few figured he meant initials.
No, Pity Martinez was not announced on Tuesday, but Atlanta did unveil an intriguing signing in his own right.
Dion Pereira, 19, made a pair of Premier League appearances for Watford at the end of the 2016-17 season, and Atlanta is betting that a move across the Atlantic will transform him into its next prized young asset.
The Watford-born forward scored 13 goals in PL2 last season.
Going the other way, from MLS to Scotland, is DC United and Wake Forest product Ian Harkes.
The son of longtime USMNT captain John, Ian Harkes is 23 and played 37 times with four goals and two assists for the Black-and-Red last season.
Harkes is headed to Dundee United, who sits third in the Scottish Championship and is just three points back of table-leading Ross County.
D.C. United have completed the deal to bring Ian Harkes back to RFK Stadium.
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Harkes, 21, signed for the Major League Soccer franchise Monday as a Homegrown player, fresh from winning the MAC Hermann Trophy earlier this month as the best collegiate player in the U.S. following his heroics with Wake Forest University over the past four years.
Son of former D.C. United and U.S. national team captain John Harkes, it is believed the two-way midfielder had plenty of options in Europe due to his dual nationality after he was born in England duringJohn’s playing days with Sheffield Wednesday, Derby County, West Ham United and Nottingham Forest.
However, the younger Harkes has instead decided to sign for United and head coach Ben Olsen was delighted to add arguably the most talented up and coming midfielder in U.S soccer.
“I’ve known Ian nearly his entire life and have watched him develop into one of the nation’s best young talents.” Olsen said. “He has all the tools to succeed at the next level and I look forward to being a part of his pro career.”
Harkes starred for DCU’s Academy as captain of both the U-16 and U-18 level before heading to Wake Forest for his storied four-year college career and now he will return home to try and lead a D.C. side back to the latter stages of the postseason.
Olsen has endured an up and down time with United over the past seven years, but has reached the MLS Cup playoffs in four of the last five campaigns.
Adding Harkes will no doubt increase DCU’s chances of making a deep run at the postseason in 2017. He also increase their number of Homegrown players to four in their current squad.