Scottish football's 11 most expensive signings rated - from one of Celtic's best to Rangers' record breaker (2023)

The transfer window in Scottish football is set to dominate headlines around the SPFL across the next weeks and months.

Clubs are already getting business done, whether it is Scottish champions Celtic or League Two’s Annan Athletic.

With Scottish Premiership stars becoming more appealing to English sides down south and clubs abroad, there will likely be some intriguing departures from the league this summer.

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At the same time, with Celtic in the Champions League group stages and Rangers in the qualifying rounds, there is every chance there will be further additions to the top 10 record signings. Already, Cameron Carter-Vickers has made his way onto the list after Celtic turned his loan deal from Tottenham Hotspur permanent.

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With that, The Scotsman casts a glance towards the top-ten record signings – which features 11 players – and provides a rating out of 10 as to just how well they did or have done so far.

It is, of course, subjective. But a range of factors are taken into consideration. How long the players stayed for, how successful they were as part of the collective, how successful they were individually, were they consistently available and were they sold at a profit.

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10= Neil Lennon, Leicester City to Celtic – £5.75million

Rating 9.5/10

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Scottish football's 11 most expensive signings rated - from one of Celtic's best to Rangers' record breaker (1)

The Northern Irishman was a totemic figure for Celtic across seven-and-a-half years at his boyhood club. He emerged as a leader at the club under Martin O’Neill and would eventually captain the side under Gordon Strachan. That snarling presence in the middle of the park often made sure the club were rarely bullied or outfought. He may not have been the quickest player on the ground but he made up for it with his game intelligence, mentality and composure in possession. Lennon, during his time at Celtic, both as player and manager, would take on plenty of responsibility and attention. During his playing career, he helped the club win five league titles, four Scottish Cups and two League Cups. Oh, and played a part in helping Celtic reach the UEFA Cup final.

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10= Eyal Berkovic, West Ham United to Celtic – £5.75million

Rating 1/10

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Eighteen months prior to Lennon's arrival saw a player arrive whose time at the club couldn't have been any more different to Lennon's. Fortunately for Berkovic, he still had his head on his shoulders after having it blootered by John Hartson in a training ground incident a few months before the Israeli made the move north to sign for John Barnes. The infamous altercation between Hartson's boot and Berkovic’s head landed the former in a bit of bother but the latter did write a “sympathetic letter”, according to The Guardian, when the Welshman, who was once fined for kicking a plant pot in Swansea, had a disciplinary hearing with the FA. Anyway, as you can probably tell from what has been written so far, Berkovic's time at Celtic was far from memorable. Barnes’ spell at the club was a disaster and, despite a decent goals return, Berkovic never lived up to such a fee consistently. He showed glimpses of his undoubted talent but it was nothing more than a tease with it not matched with the work ethic fans craved. He was eventually sold to Manchester City for £1.5m.

Scottish football's 11 most expensive signings rated - from one of Celtic's best to Rangers' record breaker (2)

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9 Mikel Arteta, Barcelona to Rangers – £5.8million

Rating 6.5/10

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The Spaniard's Rangers career can be split in two. The first season could not have gone any better when he arrived from Barca via a loan spell at Paris Saint-Germain. He formed a formidable partnership with Barry Ferguson in the middle of the park as the Ibrox side won the domestic treble. But his influence can be seen through his midfield partner. Until the 2002/03 campaign, the most goals Ferguson had scored in a season was six. He scored 18 when he partnered Arteta. The Arsenal manager’s class and intelligence at the base of the midfield was clear to see and he came up with big moments on his own. He took that form and influence into the following season but Ferguson departed and injuries had an impact before he returned to Spain hometown team Real Soceidad.

6= John Hartson, Coventry City to Celtic – £6million

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Scottish football's 11 most expensive signings rated - from one of Celtic's best to Rangers' record breaker (3)

Rating 9/10

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The Welshman brought one thing to the east end of Celtic more than any other. Goals. Across 201 appearances he scored 109 times. In only one of his five seasons at the club did he fail to hit the one goal in every two games ratio. As well as those goals he gave Celtic a presence in attack, whether it was with Chris Sutton or Henrik Larsson. On his day, especially domestically, few defenders could handle his physicality. He had the ability to back in, turn and then take a quick shot to surprise goalkeepers. He scored some big goals, whether it was in the run to the UEFA Cup final or a title-winner against Hearts. As a person, he was someone who got Celtic and formed a strong connection with the supporters.

6= Chris Sutton, Chelsea to Celtic – £6million

Rating 8.5/10

Sutton arrived at Celtic after a torrid time at Chelsea having been bought for £10million. In Glasgow he found his confidence once more and a place to call home. Similarly to Hartson, he really took to what it meant to play for Celtic, rising to the pressure, especially on the European stage or games with Rangers. The target man wasn’t as prolific as Larsson – how could he be?! – or Hartson, but he acted more as a facilitator for his team-mates, while chipping in regularly. He played different roles for the team and relished the big occasions, while he won plenty of admirers amongst the Celtic support for standing up for the club, most infamously when accusing Dunfermline Athletic of lying down to Rangers in a title battle.

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6= Cameron Carter-Vickers, Tottenham Hotspur to Celtic – £6million

Scottish football's 11 most expensive signings rated - from one of Celtic's best to Rangers' record breaker (4)

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Rating 6/10

The most recent addition to the list and he could be joined in due course by Portuguese winger Jota who, like Carter-Vickers, is on the verge of having his loan move made permanent. The US international had a brilliant season under Ange Postecoglou and was the best performing centre-back in Premiership. A player who can physically dominate opponents with ease, is relatively quick on the turn and more than comfortable in possession. It appears he will be the leader of the Celtic defence for a number of years.

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5 Michael Ball, Everton to Rangers – £6.5million

Rating 3/10

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Ball arrived at Ibrox at the height of the club's spending and, on paper, he appeared quite the coup. A few months prior to joining he became an England international, while a number of Premier League sides were keen on his signature. However, his time at Rangers was inflicted with injury issues and contractual wrangle due to an appearance clause in the deal which took him from Everton to Glasgow. When he was available consistently he demonstrated why he cost so much with an impressive use of the ball and a great left foot. But he simply wasn’t available enough, playing fewer than 80 games over four and a bit seasons.

3= Ryan Kent, Liverpool to Rangers – £7million

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Rating 7/10

On his day, the winger is one of the most devastating players in the Scottish Premiership, while he also took that onto the European level as Rangers progressed to the Europa League final. Kent's ability to take on full-backs, dancing past opponents is one of his finest qualities and can have fans on the edge of their seat. He is in the final year of his contract at Ibrox and the club will likely be very keen to tie him down on a longer deal. If he was to leave there would be no doubt the club would make a profit on their purchase.

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3= Christopher Jullien, Toulouse to Celtic – £7million

Rating 6/10

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The Frenchman was a hugely important player for Celtic right up until the point he suffered a knee injury in a win over Dundee United at the end of 2020. Since then he has featured just once and it wouldn't be surprising to see him move on this summer. Pre-injury, Jullien was a consistent centre-back who drew parallels to Cameron Carter-Vickers in that he was an imposing figure, few defenders domestically could get the better of. Commanding in the air, he posed a huge threat in the opposition box scoring ten goals, including a winner against Rangers in the League Cup final.

2 Odsonne Edouard, Paris Saint-Germain to Celtic – £9million

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Rating 7.5/10

Arriving from Paris Saint-Germain, via a disappointing and controversial loan spell at Toulouse, the Frenchman was seen as a long-term replacement for Moussa Dembele despite initially arriving on loan. He truly announced himself as a Celtic player in the Old Firm derby in March 2018. Stepping off the bench in the 67th minute, with his team down to ten men, it took him just a couple of minutes to make his mark. Drifting in off the left and curling a brilliant effort into the corner. In each of the following three seasons he hit the 20 mark but perhaps never reached a goal tally which reflected his talent. Someone with his pace, elegance, poise, touch and ability to dribble at opponents arguably should be hitting the 30 mark and dominating defences in Scotland. Still, he was sold to Crystal Palace for upwards of £14m.

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1 Tore Andre Flo, Chelsea to Rangers – £12million

Rating 4/10

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The only player in Scottish football history to be bought for eight figures and it was understandable, at the time, why the money was spent on him. He had a respectable scoring record at Chelsea, hitting double figures in three full Premier League campaigns after an impressive goal haul in his native Norway with Tromso and Brann. That respectable goals tally continued at Ibrox with his first goal coming in a derby against Celtic. In an interview with The Athletic in 2020, Flo admitted that the price tag “definitely made life more difficult” at Rangers. His signing was meant to put the club back on top in Scotland but make a dent in Europe as well. He completed just one full season at the club, albeit one where his 25 goals in all competitions helped Rangers win the league and League Cup double but they failed to reach the Champions League group stages that campaign. He was sold to Sunderland for £6.75million after 87 appearances at 43 goals.

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