Nine Premier League players who struggled in Scotland, including Manchester United and Arsenal stars, plus a World Cup winner

15 Jan

Jermain Defoe and Steven Davis are both joining Rangers and could make their debuts on Friday against Cowndenbeath in the Scottish Cup, but how will they fare?

Defoe is a Premier League legend and has enjoyed a successful goal-scoring career in England’s top flight, while Davis is heading to Rangers for the third time.

Defoe has already joined Rangers on an 18-month loan

Throughout the years, a number of players have enjoyed their time in the SPL, but there have been a number of forgettable flops from high profile names.

talkSPORT.com takes a look the English top flight heroes who found life tricky in Scotland.


9. Roy Keane – Celtic 2006

After 12 trophy laden years at Manchester United, Keane left Old Trafford to join Celtic.

The Irishman had caused controversy when he ranted at a number of players on MUTV following a 4-1 defeat to Middlesbrough.

After several offers from clubs in Spain and England, Keane opted for Celtic.

However, the move almost never materialised.

“My hip had been causing concern and after my first training session I drove back to my hotel in Edinburgh and lay on the bed,” he said in his autobiography.

“And my hip, I’ve never known pain like it. Just from the warm up and the training.

“I lay there thinking ‘I don’t want to go back. But I need to. I have to. You should have retired. You should have just packed it in’.

“But I couldn’t leave after my first day. Imagine how that would have looked.”

While Keane was a shadow of his former self and understandably so, his abrasive manner never left him and Celtic would prove to be his final club.

Keane was not the driving force of old

8. Dion Dublin – Celtic 2006

Gordon Strachan made a series of changes upon arriving at the club, one of which was to get rid of fan favourite Chris Sutton.

With only John Hartson and Macej Zurawski up front, Strachan needed cover and turned to veteran forward Dublin.

The 36-year-old was out of contract and hugely experienced, appealing to the club who only ever considered him a short term prospect. Again, like Keane, he did not perform poorly and made the most of his time, he was just no longer the player he was in the Premier League.

He did, though, excel at his final club Norwich City, earning their 2008 Player of the Year award for his heroics as he saved them from relegation to League One, aged 39.

Dublin arrived at Celtic as cover

7. Juninho – Celtic 2004-05

A Middlesbrough legend and a World Cup winner, Celtic fans rightly believed they had added considerable class to their side.

However, it did not go according to plan for the diminutive Brazilian, who struggled to break into the first-team and blamed his manager for the difficulties: “I had this issue with Martin O’Neill and his tactics.” he said.

“I still can’t understand why he wanted me at Celtic.

“He used to play with a 4-4-2 and he asked me to play out wide with defensive responsibilities, but this was never my style.”

After just 14 appearances, he left to join Palmeiras.

Juninho failed to impress at Celtic

6. Carlton Cole – Celtic 2015-16

Upon signing for the club, the former West Ham and Chelsea striker said all the right things.

“When Celtic called and said they wanted me, I just ran over. Being at Celtic is not about the money, it’s about wearing the shirt with pride. Celtic are in a great position to win trophies and I want to add that to my career”.

He should have kept running, because his time at Celtic Park was largely a forgettable one, managing just one goal in his five games and being released after only eight months.

5. Freddie Ljungberg – Celtic 2011

The Arsenal midfielder was no longer at the peak of his powers, but still had plenty of class.

An integral member of the ‘Invincible’ side, gone were the late runs and goals from midfield, and the trademark mohawk, as the Swede was approaching the end of his career.

In seven matches for Celtic, Ljungberg never looked like getting on the score sheet and didn’t. Nine months later and he was off to Japan.

Ljungberg was no longer the force of old at Celtic

4. James Beattie – Rangers 2011

Signed by Walter Smith on a two-year contract after leaving Stoke, Beattie’s days at the club were numbered when Ally McCoist arrived.

Sent out on loan to Blackpool for the second half of the 2010/11 season, the former Southampton striker failed to save the club from relegation.

Upon returning to Rangers, he was released following 10 goalless appearances.

Beattie never scored in 10 games for Rangers

3. Olivier Bernard – Rangers 2005-06

A marauding full-back, the Frenchman became a cult hero to Newcastle supporters during the Sir Bobby Robson era before being axed from the squad by Graeme Souness.

Bernard moved to Ibrox, with the prospect of Champions League football the deciding factor.

The move would not work out for him and he lasted just a season, playing nine matches before his release having being deemed surplus to requirements by new manager Paul Le Guen.

Bernard in action in 2005

2. Joey Barton – Rangers 2016

Signed to a two-year contract, the combative midfielder never got close to seeing that deal out. After a successful spell with Burnley, in which he was named Championship PFA Team of the Year, Barton opted for a move to the SPL.

suspended following a confrontation with manager Mark Warburton after a 5-1 loss to Celtic, Barton and Rangers would part ways after only eight matches and it is safe to say, the 36-year-old was not impressed with Scottish football.

“I decided I couldn’t deal with the poor standards around me,” he told talkSPORT.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for the tradition of Scottish football – Celtic and Rangers and the Old Firm – but the standard of football, let’s be serious, is pathetic up there.”

Barton did not enjoy his time with Rangers

1.Francis Jeffers (Rangers) 2005

A career that offered so much, Jeffers never fulfilled the potential he showed at Everton.

An ill-advised transfer request away from the Toffees and a spate of injuries meant he was confined to the bench while at Arsenal and struggled to live up to expectations.

With his options at next club Charlton limited, he sought solace in a loan move north of the border and joined Rangers in 2005.

No goals in 14 matches meant his contract was terminated early from his contract and sent back to The Valley.

The striker would face the humiliation of being released from two clubs in the same season, when the Addicks dealt him the same fate at the end of the campaign.

Jeffers was released early from Rangers