Five short-term SPFL signings that made a huge impact

Conrad Logan has left Hibs after only eight games - and one Scottish Cup. Picture: John Devlin
Conrad Logan has left Hibs after only eight games - and one Scottish Cup. Picture: John Devlin
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The news that Conrad Logan, unlikely hero in the Scottish Cup semi-final this year, will be leaving the club has saddened many Hibs fans.

The Easter Road faithful came as close to canonising Logan as football fans can manage after the semi-final and he leaves a legend and Scottish Cup winner after only eight appearances.

In his honour, The Scotsman looks at other players who had an unforgettable impact in a very short period of time.

Craig Bellamy

Craig Bellamy arrived on loan at Celtic in January 2005. In half a season, Bellamy played 15 times for the Bhoys and scored a remarkable nine goals. Included in those strikes was the opener in a 2-1 victory over Rangers at Ibrox, but his most memorable contributtin was the winner against Hearts in the Scottish Cup semi-final. After an early goal from Chris Sutton had given Celtic the perfect start, Bellamy doubled the tally to take the game away from Hearts despite Deividas Cesnauskis’ 60th minute goal. Celtic would go on to win the Scottish Cup, beating Dundee United 1-0 at Hampden, with Bellamy picking up his first major domestic medal.

Andy Thorn

Any Hearts fan will be able to tell you the story of Andy Thorn, who made his Tynecastle debut at the age of 30, playing against Celtic in the League Cup Quarter Final in 1996. With the majority of the first choice Hearts defence out injured or suspended after four were sent off against Rangers the week before, Thorn, alongside 17-year-old Gary Naysmith making only his second appearance, performed miracles at the back for 120 minutes against a Celtic side that included Jorge Cadete, Paulo Di Canio and Pierre Van Hooijdonk. Famously, John Robertson scored the winner in extra time, sending Hearts through. They would go on to lose the final 4-3 against a Paul Gascoigne and Ally McCoist inspired Rangers side. By that point Thorn was long gone, having played only one more match before departing.

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Dieter van Tornhout

Joining from Cypriot outfit Nea Salamis Famagusta in January 2012, van Tornhout only played 13 times for Kilmarnock after agreeing a 18 month deal, and scored twice during his time at Rugby Park. One goal, however, came in their biggest game of the season, the Scottish League Cup final against Celtic. Van Tornhout’s header six minutes from the end of the match nicked it for Kilmarnock after Cammy Bell had performed heroics in the Killie goal earlier in the game. Van Tornhout was let go at the end of the season despite his heroics in order to return to Belgium to spend time with his terminally ill father.

Craig Beattie

After leaving Swansea in January 2012, the competition for Beattie’s signature was hot, with Kilmarnock at one point reported to have been poised to sign the striker. Instead, Beattie chose Hearts on a deal till the end of the season. He became an instant hit with the Tynecastle faithful, scoring on his full debut against St Mirren in the quarter final of the Scottish Cup and netting again against rivals Hibs in a 2-0 win. Most famously, however, it was his performance in the Scottish Cup semi-final that made him a Hearts hero.

Coming on at half-time for Scott Robinson, Beattie assisted Rudi Skacel with Hearts’ first on 47 minutes, before Gary Hooper equalised three minutes before time. Joe Ledley then handled the ball in the 92nd minute, allowing Beattie to step up and comfortably slot the penalty away, sending Hearts through to the final. Hearts went on to dismantle Hibs 5-1 in the all-Edinburgh showpiece, with Beattie leaving the club at the end of the season, and joining St Johnstone. He played only nine times for the Jambos.

Esmael Goncalves

In January 2013, St Mirren signed Goncalves on loan from his parent club Rio Ave till the end of the season. Little did they know that the man from Guinea-Bissau would fire the Paisley club to victory in the Scottish League Cup final. Goncalves only played 16 times for St Mirren, scoring eight, but the two games in the League Cup proved to most important. Goncalves netted the equaliser against Celtic in the semi-final that set up a 3-2 win, and scored the equaliser and assisted the eventual winner against Hearts in the final, sending the Buddies faithful into raptures. Goncalves nearly did similar in the Scottish Cup, his two goals enough to beat St Johnstone 2-0 in the Round of 16, but his goal against Celtic in the quarter finals was not quite enough to beat the Bhoys a second time in a matter of months. Goncalves’ loan finished at the end of the season and he returned to Rio Ave.

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