Talking Celtic with Scott Alcroft
Marvin Compper finally departed Glasgow this week after what has to be one of the worst signings Celtic has ever made. I’m not saying the German defender was a bad player but, in terms of transfer fee and wages, his acquisition has been a complete disaster for the club.
So, at A Celtic State Of Mind, this got us thinking… The suggestion was that we should list the top 5 worst ever Celtic signings but, when I actually looked into it, there’s been so many that 5 just wasn’t enough.
I was never good enough to play for Celtic and all of these players did, so hats off to them for that. However, as a supporter, down the years we’ve really had to suffer watching some shockers pulling on the hoops.
I’ve compiled my own top 10 list here from my own 41 years of supporting the Bhoys. If you agree or disagree then please let me know. Some have been chosen for lack of ability and others have been chosen for financial reasons.
As ever, we’ll start in reverse order:
10. Stuart Slater
Stuart was a young player who came to Celtic from West Ham as a record £1.5 million signing. Instead of this big-money move giving him confidence, it probably went the other way with him.
He showed flashes of his talent but, all-in-all, he was very poor at Celtic. His former team-mate Andy Payton had this to say about him: “You have to be able to handle the pressure. Some players couldn’t do that. Stuart Slater signed on the same day as me and he was a great lad but he couldn’t handle the pressure. It affected him big-style. You just don’t know if people can handle the crowd. It’s not just on a Saturday afternoon – it’s the whole build-up. You have the press up there and you are under more scrutiny. Stuart was a good lad but was quiet and it just didn’t work out for him. He did great at West Ham but couldn’t handle the pressure.”
9. Du Wei
Now, a rumour has been circulating among the Celtic circuit for years and surely there must be some truth in it, as this guy certainly wasn’t signed for his footballing ability.
Was Du Wei really signed just to boost shirt sales in China? That’s the alleged story that has done the rounds for years and was actually quoted by former player Adam Virgo.
Du Wei made one ill-fated appearance for Celtic in that Scottish Cup shocker against Clyde. He was substituted at half-time and never seen again. He probably wouldn’t even have made the Clyde starting XI. Brutal.
8. Martin Hayes
Another notorious flop from the ‘90’s was poor old Martin Hayes. Martin arrived in 1990 for a fee of £650,000 from Arsenal, which, back then, was a huge amount of money.
One anecdote that reveals exactly how far out of the picture Hayes was at Parkhead is so ridiculous that it might just be true…
One morning, he arrived an hour early for training, and with time to spare before the session began Hayes got changed at Parkhead and drove the short distance to the training pitch at Barrowfield. He pulled up in the corner of the car park and decided to have a quick nap before his team-mates arrived. Unfortunately for the player he fell into a deep sleep and awoke just in time to see his mud-covered team-mates and boss Liam Brady walking off the training pitch. A panic-stricken Hayes rushed out of his car and over to Brady to desperately try and explain his absence. A slightly bewildered Brady turned to the player and said, matter-of-factly, “To be honest, Martin, no one even noticed you were missing”.
7. Tony Cascarino
Another massive flop at Celtic and such a frustrating player to watch. Again, he arrived with a big price tag but failed to live up to it. He just didn’t get Celtic and how big we actually were. Not only did he not score enough but he hardly contributed as a team-mate either.
This quote is actually from Tony himself: “If I am honest, I don’t think I realised how big the club was. I joined them from Aston Villa, then a pretty big club in England, and I felt as if my career was taking a step backwards. At the time Celtic wallowed in the shadow of Rangers. We were a poor side, barely making an indent into Rangers’ supremacy in the league. It was, perhaps, the biggest regret of my career that I was unsuccessful there. I was proud to play for them but, on reflection, I should have stayed and endeavoured to develop. But I wasn’t a strong enough personality to be able to cope with the religious bigotry off the field.”
6. Mo Bangura
Probably one of the worst strikers I’ve ever seen in a Celtic jersey, and we’ve seen a few. Check out this quote from Super Mo (sorry but I had to) on the day he signed for Celtic: “To come to Celtic gives me a good feeling because it’s another step in my career. I have to work to get to the top. I’m talking about the Spanish league, the English league or maybe the Italian league. If I can do my best here with Celtic then I will see what the future holds. If possible, I could make the next step in one year – if everything goes well and the club is willing, why not?”
Poor Mo never managed to score a single goal for Celtic, barring in a pre-season friendly. His positional sense and general all-round play was atrocious. We forgive you, Henrik, for recommending him to us.
5. Marvin Compper
We touched on this at the top of the page but big Marvin unfortunately has to go down as one of Celtic’s worst ever signings. For the transfer outlay and the pretty big wage he was on, it’ll probably go down as one of the club’s most expensive flops.
His best moment in a Celtic jersey was probably on trophy day in May 2019. As the players took to the pitch to recieve their medals, this strange figure appeared on the pitch with them. Compper hadn’t even featured in one single game that season but he still went up to collect his medal. It’s unkown if the big man got to keep it but he got the biggest cheer of the day anyway when collecting his. Sarcastically, of course.
4. Adam Virgo
Adam came up to Scotland with a very good reputation in England, where he was regarded as a top young player. He was versatile and could play in defence or as a striker, surprisingly. Chris Sutton did similar things for us at Celtic but that’s as far as the comparisons go.
Adam was really bad for us and looked completely out of place in a Celtic jersey. He had a lot to say regarding the Du Wei debacle and also threats from Rangers fans etc. Although we don’t condone that sort of behaviour, it was possibly just an excuse for Adam’s own shortcomings in a Celtic jersey.
3. Derk Boerrigter
Poor Derk, he genuinley was our Darren Anderton. Probably the biggest sicknote we’ve ever had at Celtic and, after a big money move from Ajax on substantial wages, we thought we’d signed the next Gareth Bale.
We’d lost Wanyama and Hooper, and Derk was the supposed answer or big money signing to appease the fans. He turned out to be one of the worst signings in Celtic’s history.
2. Wayne Biggins
No Celtic ‘worst ever signings’ list would be complete without poor old Wayne, who arrived in a part-exchange deal with Andy Payton. Andy was a very good goalscorer for Celtic, so whatever Lou Macari saw in journeyman Wayne still baffles us to this very day.
His career at Celtic was very short-lived and he didn’t even manage to score a goal for the reserves. The ‘90’s were bad enough but to suffer Wayne in a Celtic shirt was a bit too much for most of us.
1. Rafael Scheidt
Yes folks, you’ve guessed it! It could only be one man, couldn’t it?
Wayne Biggins must thank his lucky stars that King Kenny watched that grainy video tape of Rafael Scheidt that day back in the late ‘90s. Signing Scheidt will knock any player down to second place in such a list.
Scheidt was signed for a reported £5 million. Yes, you read that right – FIVE MILLION POUNDS – back in 1999 by the ill-fated combination of John Barnes and King Kenny.
The Guardian newspaper published an article in 2001, which rated Scheidt as the second worst transfer in the history of world football. I wonder who was first? With his unfortunate surname fitting his style of play, Rafael is undoubtedly Celtic’s number one worst signing of all time.
Do you agree or disagree with this top ten? Please let me know.
Other notable names worth a mention are: Jeremy Toljan, Freddie Ljungberg, Amido Balde, Evander Sno, Ian Andrews, Colin Kazim-Richards, Ian Wright, Eyal Berkovic, Gary Gillespie, Carlton Cole, Jim Melrose, Scott Allan, Mo Camara, Olivier Tebily, Morten Rasmussen, Juninho, Chris Killen and Daryl Murphy.