8 of the Best January Signings in Scottish Football

8 of the Best January Signings in Scottish Football

We’re now almost halfway through the January transfer window and should expect more business between now and the end of the month.

Celtic have already done business, signing Lewis Morgan and Marvin Compper, while Rangers have added Jamie Murphy and Sean Goss to their squad.

Aberdeen signing Chidi Nwakali, Motherwell’s capture of Nadir Ciftci and Hibs getting Scott Bain are some other key moves already this month.

But do any of the moves compare to some of the best January signings ever in Scottish football?

Here, we look at eight of the best:

Craig Bellamy to Celtic – 2005

Celtic fans will have fond memories of Bellamy’s short spell on loan at the club back in 2005. Signed by Martin O’Neill in the January transfer window, he’d been frozen out at Newcastle, but became a hugely important player for the Hoops. He scored nine goals in 15 games, including a superb hat-trick against Dundee United and a brilliant finish in a 2-1 win over Rangers at Ibrox. Although he couldn’t inspire them to the league title, it was a signing many wanted to make permanent and left many disappointed when Celtic couldn’t make it happen.

Esma Goncalves to St Mirren – 2013

Goncalves was a complete unknown when he signed for St Mirren on loan in the January window of the 2012-13 season. He’d failed to make much of an impact for Rio Ave in Portugal, but did enough during his time in Paisley to become a player in demand. That’s thanks to eight goals in 16 games for the club and a significant role in their historic League Cup win under Danny Lennon. Goncalves scored and set up another in a 3-2 win over Hearts in the final and will forever be remembered by supporters of the Buddies. Sadly, he moved on after his loan, but left behind some great memories.

Anthony Stokes to Hibs – 2016

Stokes is now in his third stint at Hibs, but it’s his second that’s most significant to us. Signed on loan halfway through January in the 2015/16 season, Alan Stubbs hoped the Irish striker could provide the quality his side needed to challenge Rangers in the Championship title race and fire the Hibees back to the Premiership. He did score nine times in 25 games, but it wasn’t enough to get Hibs up. Then again, who cares about that? Stokes’ double in the 3-2 win over Rangers in the Scottish Cup Final helped end the club’s 114-year wait to lift the trophy. He’ll forever be a legend at Easter Road as a result.

Shay Logan to Aberdeen – 2014

As right-backs go, have Aberdeen ever had it as good as Logan? Maybe. But there’s no doubting he’s been one of their best ever January signings. He first arrived as a loan in the January window of the 2013/14 season and went on to make 18 appearances as Derek McInnes’ men finished third in the Premiership and won the League Cup. Since then, Logan joined permanently and has went on to make 170 more appearances as the Dons have established themselves as the second best team in the country. As January signings go, it can’t get much better.

Leigh Griffiths to Celtic – 2014

Griffiths may not be an automatic first team starter now under Brendan Rodgers, but there’s no denying he’s been a big hit since moving to Celtic back in the January window of the 2013/14 season. He’d failed in a short spell at Wolves and was returning to Scotland in a bid to rediscover his best form so the Hoops managed to get him for just £1million. Griffiths has more than repaid that fee with the 94 goals he’s scored since. There have been goals in the league, in the cups, in the Champions League and he’s contributed hugely to eight major trophies in his cabinet. And there’s still more to come no doubt, including the striker passing the 100-goal mark for the club. You don’t often get goalscorers as good as him in the January window, but Celtic showed it can be done.

Danny Swanson to Dundee United – 2008

Considering Dundee United picked up Swanson from Berwick Rangers in 2008, we can’t imagine much was expected from Arabs fans. It couldn’t have been any different though, with the talented midfielder going on to make 127 appearances for the club before earning a move to Peterborough when they were in the Championship. In his time at Tannadice, he became one of the best playmakers in the country, playing a pivotal role in their Scottish Cup-winning team of 2010 and his form actually earned him a Scotland call-up in 2011, but he failed to earn a cap.

Steven Davis to Rangers – 2008

Whoever did the deal to sign Davis at Ibrox back in 2008 deserves a lot of credit. He was a late loan signing from Fulham on the final day of the January transfer window and went on to do so well in that spell that he joined the club permanently on a four-year deal the next summer. In 210 appearances to follow, Davis won three league titles, two Scottish Cups, three League Cups and was part of the team that lost out in the 2008 UEFA Cup Final to Zenit. Rangers’ financial issues stopped them from commanding a big fee when Davis went to Southampton in 2012 – that move showed just how good his signing was back in January of 2008.

Kris Boyd to Rangers – 2006

Say what you like about Boyd now, but his move to Rangers in 2006 has to be considered one of the best ever January deals. He’d scored goals at Kilmarnock after breaking through at the Rugby Park club – 67 in 168 games to be exact. But he stepped it up a level while at Ibrox, netting 128 in 191 games while overtaking Henrik Larsson as the Scottish Premier League’s all-time leading goalscorer. To think Rangers got him for just £500,000 is a seriously astute piece of business. How the club would love to get value for money like that now.

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