FRIDAY’S signing spree in Scotland bucked the trend for what is often a far quieter transfer deadline day than first thought.
A number of transfers went through on Friday for clubs in the Scottish Premiership, both loans and permanent deals. This is in complete contrast to previous years where clubs have either completed their business early on in the day or have been financially unable to strengthen the side.
Prior to last Friday’s excitement, you had to go back through five years before finding a worthy list of top flight players acquired while the clock was winding down. The Terrace Podcast team have waded through the signings made over the past five years and picked out the five best deals.
1 Sep 2008 – Derek Riordan, Celtic to Hibernian (undisclosed)
Exiting Easter Road in 2006, Riordan seemingly had the world at his feet. The move to the Scottish Champions was only going to propel the technically gifted, two-footed goalscorer further up the football ladder. It didn’t quite work out that way and when it became apparent Celtic were willing to let him go the player decided against making an unforgivable switch to rivals Hearts and rejoined his boyhood heroes. The second spell at Easter Road lacked the magic of the first, even if he scored over ten league goals in each of his three seasons and helped the club to a European place in 2010. He left on freedom of contract a year later and is currently without a club.
31 Aug 2010 – Alexei Eremenko, Metalist Kharkiv to Kilmarnock (loan)
Kilmarnock have finished in the top six once in the last six years. It is no surprise this occurred in the only year Alexei Eremenko played for the club. The deal to sign the Russian born Finnish internationalist came about thanks to manager Mixu Paatelainen’s friendship with the player from representing Finland and it quickly became apparent the midfielder was a cut above at the SPL level. He had a tremendous ability to dominate matches without seeming to break sweat, utilising a vision and awareness that was one step ahead of everyone else on the park. He was the catalyst for the football playing ethos that started with Paatelainen and stayed at Kilmarnock for three years under when Kenny Shiels took over the reins. Sadly, without his hero in the manager’s dugout, the player wasn’t interested in a full-time move to the club. However, just this past week the news broke that Kilmarnock would be getting their hero back on a permanent basis.
31 Aug 2010 – Anthony Stokes, Hibernian to Celtic (£1.2 million)
The Irish internationalist was a rumoured target back in his days as an Arsenal player on loan at Falkirk. Instead he chose Sunderland and his career quickly stalled. It would take three years, and a successful season with Hibs, for Celtic to finally get their man. For £1.2million the club got themselves a bargain. Neil Lennon may not always trust him on the big European nights, but he has continued to be a reliable goalscorer at Scottish Premiership level. This season his role has changed somewhat as he’s often become the facilitator for Kris Commons who has been banging in the goals with frightening frequency on the domestic level. Stokes will wish he’d score more goals but at least he has proven himself to be more than just a fast hit-man with his overall play this term.
31 Aug 2012 – Efe Ambrose, Ashdod to Celtic (undisclosed)
The Nigerian defender arrived from Israel without a reputation in Scottish football, though his numerous appearances with the national team did pacify Celtic fans who may have been wary of the acquisition. Initially he enjoyed a solid start to life at Celtic Park, even though his style appeared a little bit unorthodox from what supporters would envisage a centre back to have. Then came the night against Juventus in the Round of 16 in the Champions League where he made two grave errors that cost Celtic any hope of progressing. The rest of his season fell apart soon after and it appeared the signing of Virgil van Dijk this summer was going to spell the end for Ambrose’s time in the first team. Mercifully, he was given a reprieve when Kelvin Wilson decided he wanted to return down south and Ambrose has since grabbed his chance with both hands. He’s been completely solid this season as Celtic are on the verge of making history by beating the record for consecutive clean sheets.
31 Aug 2012 – David Templeton, Hearts to Rangers (undisclosed)
Templeton spent the first month of the 2012-13 season dispelling doubts about his abilities after a sub-par previous campaign and soon alerted potential suitors with a man-of-the-match performance in Hearts’ draw at Anfield. Rangers were one such admirer and they made a deadline day double swoop for Templeton and Ryan McGowan. The latter rejected the chance to move to Ibrox but Templeton was more than happy to help the fallen club rise up through the divisions. The signing proved successful last season with the winger scoring 15 times from midfield despite suffering some injury problems during Rangers’ march to the Third Division title. This year hasn’t been quite so successful, but he remains a key fixture in the Ibrox squad, chipping in with a few goals since the turn of the year and will have a chance to reclaim his place in the starting eleven once more.
• Article courtesy of terracepodcast.net - ‘an alternative look at the country’s beautiful game’ covering all four Scottish divisions. You can also follow @terracepodcast on Twitter.