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Fulham transfer target Stan Petrov today signed a new deal that will keep him at Celtic until 2009.

Petrov’s current deal expires at the end of next season and he was hoping to sort out an extension months ago when he first entered talks with Hoops chief executive Peter Lawwell.

But a lack of progress almost forced him to quit, and up until two weeks ago the 26-year-old looked like moving.

He said today: “It was not a difficult decision. I always said my first option was Celtic, and that I would sign if they gave me the deal I wanted.”

The news will come as a huge relief to Parkhead supporters, who feared the loss of their best player. Now he is here for three and a half years, a deal that will earn him a testimonial for 10 years’ service.

In recent days The Cottagers have tried to find an answer to their midfield problem, by courting Michael Brown at Tottenham, but that effort also appears to have hit the buffers.