Top XI Foreigners to grace the SPL

The standard of Scottish football may not be great now, but back in the 1990’s and the early 2000’s, the Old Firm could attract some top class players. Some players came to Scotland in their twilight of their careers, having achieved greatness with other clubs, whereas some went on to bigger and better things after leaving Scotland. It’s actually hard to fit in all the great foreigners into this team, and their contributions at other clubs will be considered as well as how good they were in the SPL. Unfortunately, this is basically a Celtic and Rangers XI, mainly because no team apart from the Old Firm has won the league since 1985, when Sir Alex Ferguson did it with Aberdeen. Any players born outside of Great Britain are eligible, so here is my top XI foreigners to ever grace the SPL:

GK: Artur Boruc

(Celtic, 2005-present)

The Pole has been a fine acquisition for Celtic, since joining from Legia Warsaw in 2005. The keeper has kept 9 clean sheets this season for Celtic in 23 games.

DF: Frank de Boer

(Rangers, 2004)

Only played in Scotland for 6 months, but the fact that Rangers could sign a player of De Boer’s quality speaks volumes in itself. Came to Scotland near the end of his career, after excelling at Ajax, Barcelona and Galatasary. One of the best Dutch defenders ever, and was their most capped player ever, until Edwin van der Sar took that title away from him.

DF: Johan Mjallby

(Celtic, 1998-2004)

Signed by Josef Venglos in 1998, the Swedish international was a hit for Celtic, and could operate in defence and midfield. Mjallby captained the side on many occasions, and won 3 SPL titles, 2 League Cup’s and 2 Scottish Cups with Celtic.

DF: Craig Moore

(Rangers, 1993-98, 1999-2005)

The Aussie defender was an important part of Rangers’ defence in the 90’s and early 2000’s. Was stripped of the captaincy by Alex McLeish in 2004 after returning late from Olympic duty with Australia. Now in Greece with AO Kavala.

DF: Gio van Bronkhorst

(Rangers, 1998-2001)

The Dutchman could play at left back and in midfield, and was one of Dick Advocaat’s first signings when he took over at Rangers. Won two SPL titles with Rangers, before he left in an £8.5 million move to Arsenal.

MF: Mikel Arteta

(Rangers, 2002-04)

Arteta was only young when he was at Rangers (19 when he joined), but his displays in central midfield made the Spaniard a fan favourite. His performances and talent meant that Rangers could never afford to hold on to him, and Arteta joined Real Sociedad and later Everton.

MF: Gennaro Gattuso

(Rangers, 1997-98)

The tough-tackling midfielder only played in Scotland for a season, but was a success, making 40 appearances and scoring 7 goals. Advocaat didn’t like Gattuso and sold him to Salernitana in 1998. Rangers should have kept Gattuso for a few more years, seeing as he became one of the best defensive midfielders in the world at AC Milan.

MF: Ronald de Boer

(Rangers, 2000-04)

Frank’s twin spent four years in Scotland with Rangers, after playing with his brother at Ajax and Barcelona, but didn’t experience success at the Nou Camp. De Boer was a big success at Ibrox, and was a great goalscorer from midfield. Part of Rangers’ Dutch contigent at the time that included Gio Van Bronkhorst, Arthur Numan, Bert Konterman and Fernando Ricksen.

MF: Roy Keane

(Celtic, 2005-06)

Keane only spent six months at Celtic, but it is his contributions to football in general that place him in this team. Keane was a world-class midfielder for Manchester United, one of the best at his position. Keane managed to complete a league and cup double in his sole season in Scotland.

ST: Brian Laudrup

(Rangers, 1994-98)

Laudrup joined Rangers after stints at Bayern Munich, AC Milan and Fiorentina. After an unhappy spell in Italy, the Danish legend experienced major success at Ibrox, and was part of the squad that won 9 league titles in a row in the 1990’s. Many people consider Laudrup to be the best foreigner to ever play for Rangers, and he is one of the top foreigners to play in Scotland, along with the man below.

ST: Henrik Larsson

(Celtic, 1997-2004)

Larsson could score goals in his sleep. The Sweden striker was a revelation at Celtic, topping the SPL scoring charts for five of his six seasons in Scotland, the only season he didn’t was in 1999-2000, when he sustained a double leg break against Lyon. Larsson’s goalscoring record in Scotland is exceptional, with a record of 174 in 221 games in domestic competitions.

SUBS: Stefan Klos (Rangers, 1998-2007), Lorenzo Amoruso (Rangers, 1997-2003), Arthur Numan (Rangers, 1998-2003), Jorg Albertz (Rangers, 1996-2001), Aiden McGeady (2004-present), Peter Lovenkrands (Rangers, 2000-06), Paolo Di Canio (1996-97), Pierre van Hoojdonk (Celtic, 1995-97), Mark Viduka (Celtic, 1998-2000)

What do you think? Are there any players from other SPL clubs that deserve to be here?

Follow Tom Jinks on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tomjinks

 


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