Toronto FC coach Mo Johnston had his first taste of recruiting failure yesterday after he was rebuffed by his old Scottish premiership team -- Glasgow Celtic --in an attempt to lure away one of its prized players.
Johnston was seeking to get 23-year-old defender John Kennedy to defect to his expansion Major League Soccer club.
Celtic boss Gordon Strachan apparently was open to the idea of loaning Kennedy to TFC until he found out that the team's brand new BMO Field did not have real grass.
Kennedy has been on the injury list for most of the past three seasons after suffering an ACL tear in his knee and had just returned to the club ready to play.
Strachan told the Daily Express newspaper he was concerned his young star would be vulnerable to a setback if he was to play on BMO's artificial field turf.
"We would have been giving him the opportunity to continue his recovery at a very high level," Johnston said.
The TFC coach said he had been in negotiations with both Celtic officials and Kennedy's agent and thought he had a deal.
"I spoke with Gordon and John's agent and everyone was up for it until we mentioned our stadium has a plastic pitch," Johnston said.
"They took advice from the specialist and the word then came back that he could not be risked on that surface at this stage of his career."
Johnston was successful on another front, however, getting the signature of former Sunderland midfielder Andy Welsh on an MLS contract earlier this week.