Bolton snap up McGregor

ACADEMY starlet Graeme McGregor has been signed by Premier League side Bolton Wanderers.

The highly-rated 16-year-old, who has also starred for Scotland under-16s and 17s, joined the Trotters after a compensation package was hammered out with the Bairns.

And Academy spokesperson Ross Wilson told Heraldsport that the midfielder's departure was not a surprise.

"Bolton have been tracking him for some time," he said. "We were contacted by them around six months ago and they made an offer for him then.

"We allowed Graeme to go down there with his family and have a look about and see what he thought.

"Now he has decided to make the move at this stage in his career and we really hope it works out for him."

The blow of losing McGregor will be softened by the financial compensation agreed with Bolton. Ross revealed that the arrangement would allow the club to benefit if the youngster continues to shine at the Reebok Stadium.

"Usually in these cases you agree a certain set amount, but we didn't go down that road," he explained.

"We sat down with Bolton and agreed a financial package that will see the club receive a smaller fee just now plus more add-ons over time, depending on how successful Graeme is with them.

"Hopefully we will get a return to Falkirk in the long-term."

The former Larbert High pupil progressed through the Academy ranks and was considered an excellent prospect by coaching staff.

And Ross admitted losing such a talented player was tough to take, but was something that smaller clubs had to accept.

"It's always disappointing, but when a Premier League club comes calling it can be difficult to knock them back," he said.

"We have sold players like Ryan Flynn to Liverpool in the past and this was something Graeme wanted to do, so we would never stand in his way.

"However, if he didn't want to leave we would not have pushed him either.

"We wish Graeme and his family all the best. He progressed very well at Falkirk in the last few years and I am sure he will continue to develop his football at Bolton."

Meanwhile, Ross was impressed with the performance of Paul Sludden in the Falkirk XI's 3-2 victory over Spartans in Mark Burns' testimonial last Sunday.

"Paul scored and put in another good performance," he added.

"Since he returned to the club for pre-season he has had a very good run and has a chance of being involved with the first team squad at the start of the campaign."