10 foreign stars who made surprising returns to Scottish football

Former Celtic midfielder Massimo Donati is currently on trial with Hamilton Accies. Picture: Robert Perry
Former Celtic midfielder Massimo Donati is currently on trial with Hamilton Accies. Picture: Robert Perry
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With the news that ex-Celtic midfielder Massimo Donati has joined up with Martin Canning’s Hamilton Accies squad for a trial after leaving Bari at the end of the season, The Scotsman looks at 10 foreigners who made similarly surprising returns to Scottish football after heading abroad, not many of which were successful.

Jorge Cadete

One of the ‘Three Amigos’ - a nickname for Pierre van Hooijdonk, Paolo Di Canio and Cadete coined by then Celtic chairman Fergus McCann - Cadete finished the 96/97 campaign as top scorer with 33 goals. Despite coming second to a Brian Laudrup-inspired Rangers, Cadete secured a move away from Celtic Park to Celta Vigo in Spain for £3.5m.

Spells with Benfica, a loan spell at a Jim Jeffries-led but relegation-doomed Bradford City in 2000 and a loan spell at Estreala Amadora in Portugal followed, before a return to Scottish Football in 2004. Despite agreeing terms and posing with the Raith Rovers jersey, Cadete ended up joining Partick Thistle for whom he played five times, missed training, and didn’t score for four months.

Robert Prytz

A two-time Scottish League Cup winner with Rangers in the mid-eighties in a spell that included 77 appearances and 12 goals in a blue shirt, Prytz divided opinion while at Ibrox, with many fans taking a dim view to his ball-on-the-floor style of play. However, Prytz moved to Goteburg, had two spells at Swiss side Young Boys, followed by spells at Atalanta, Hellas Verona and Malmo.

He returned to Scottish football in 1996/97, joining Kilmarnock, but only played three times for Killie before schlepping around the lower leagues, playing for Dumbarton, Cowdenbeath, East Fife, Pollok and Hamilton before retiring in 2001 at the age of 41.

Jorg Albertz

A fan favourite during his time at Ibrox, Albertz had been part of three Premier League triumphs, two Scottish Cup successes, and two League Cup victories. His five-year stay in Glasgow came to an end in 2001. Two years at Hamburg preceded a spell in China between 2003 and 2004, before returning to Germany with Greuther Furth. Albertz initially chose to finish his career at his first club Fortuna Dusseldorf, but in March 2008 the German confirmed he was training with Clyde, appearing seven times and scoring twice during his brief spell at the First Division club.

Mathias Jack

A well-established German league player after spells at VfL Bochum and Fortuna Dusseldorf before his move to Hibs, Jack made over 100 appearances for the Easter Road side at the turn of the millennium, including playing in the 3-0 Scottish Cup Final defeat to Celtic in 2001. Jack left Edinburgh in 2003 after his contract finished, briefly moving to Icelandic club Grindavik before returning to Scotland with Raith Rovers in November 2003. He played six times before exiting Scottish football for good.

Nacho Novo

One of the most potent strikers in Scotland during his early career at Raith and Dundee, Novo was snapped up by Rangers in 2004 for £450,000. A firm fans’ favourite, the Spaniard left Ibrox in 2010 having scored over 70 goals. Novo moved to Sporting Gijon in 2010, leaving in 2012 after Gijon boss Javier Clemente branded him “a coward” and tore up the striker’s contract. Brief spells at Legia Warsaw and Spanish Second Division side Huesca followed before the Spaniard joined then Scottish Championship runners-up Morton on a short-term contract, playing eight times and scoring only once.

Jonatan Johansson

The Sweden-born Finnish striker played just under 50 times for Rangers towards the end of the millennium. Despite struggling to establish a place in the starting XI he still found the back of the net 14 times before moving to newly-promoted Charlton Athletic in the summer of 2000. He enjoyed six successful seasons at The Valley, fully living up to his £3.5 million price tag. After a brief loan to Norwich, Johansson moved to Malmo before Hibs took notice. Johansson signed an 18-month deal, but after only nine league appearances and one solitary goal (in a 4-0 friendly defeat of Dunfermline) he left Hibs for St Johnstone, before finishing his career at Finnish club TPS.

Ismael Bouzid

A player best known for his winning header against Celtic in 2009 for Hearts, Bouzid was already a serial journeyman when he arrived at Tynecastle. Already having played in Germany, Algeria, Turkey and France, his two-season stay in Edinburgh saw him become a regular fixture in the Hearts defence, making 64 appearances. Spells in Algeria, the United Arab Emirates and Greece followed after his release, before he made an ultimately fruitless return to Scottish football in 2013 with Kilmarnock. Four appearances later Bouzid was allowed to leave, and added another country to his impressive list by joining Luxembourgian side Progres Niederkorn in 2014.

Johannes Edvaldsson

The Icelandic centre-back nicknamed ‘Shuggy’ by Celtic fans in the late 70s played nearly 130 games, scoring 36 goals for the Parkhead club. Having already played in South Africa and Germany, the multi-functioning Icelandic (he played in almost every outfield position for Celtic) left the club in 1980, joining doomed North American Soccer League club Tulsa Roughnecks. A brief spell at Hannover 96 followed before Edvaldsson returned to Scotland with a move to Motherwell in 1982, playing 55 times and scoring six while at Fir Park.

Ruben Palazuelos

A fellow release from Hearts alongside Ismael Bouzid in 2011, Palazuelos had played over 100 times for the Jambos after paying for his own release from his Gimnastica contract in 2007. Part of the Hearts team that finished third in the SPL in 08/09, Palazuelos moved back to his homeland by signing for Spanish side Deportivo Alaves in 2011. Brief spells in Bulgaria, Finland, England and Cyprus followed before Ross County swooped in to sign him in January 2015. The move was unsuccessful, however, and after only five appearances Palazuelos was released by the club at the end of the campaign.

Gregory Vignal

A loan signing for Rangers from Liverpool in 2004 during Alex McLeish’s reign at Ibrox, the French defender played 40 times for the Gers, scoring three times in his short stay at the club. Let go by Liverpool, Vignal went on to have spells at Portsmouth, Lens (with loan spells at Kaiserslautern and Southampton), Birmingham, and Greek side Atromitos before signing for Dundee United in 2012. Vignal made exactly zero competitive appearances for United and after just two months he left, moving to fourth-tier French club AS Beziers ahead of the 2013/14 season.

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