Top 10 SPL Players ‘Who Fell From Grace’
They are the men of which big things were expected but will be remembered as those who did not live up to their potential.
Young players who were tipped as the new Kenny Dalglish’s but turned out to be more Peter Marinello.
Big money signings who came with hefty transfer fees only to leave a sour taste in the mouth to football fans muck akin to how Maggie Thatchers Government is felt amongst the people of Scotland. And guys who had it all yet now would give their right arm to even just have a kick about down the park. They are the top ten SPL players who fell from grace.
- Stephane Guivarc’h
1998 and Scottish football is awash with dosh. Sky TV have made their inroads into the country and a new, sparkly league is created, the SPL.
And the side who were benefiting the most were Rangers. With David Murray at the till Dick Advocaat was splashing out as Gers fans feasted on big money signing after big money signing. Money was no object and in November 1998 in came French World Cup winner Stephane Guivarc’h, a £3.5 million signing from Newcastle.
Two goals on his debut had the Rangers supporters excited but his lack of enthusiasm and desire to get stuck in saw him flop at Ibrox and departed after only season and a meagre five goals.
Guivarc’h apparently means stallion in the Breton region he hailed from. To those who witnessed him in Scotland he was more a donkey than anything else.
- Rapheal Scheidt
In December 1999 Scottish football pundits had a problem on their hands. Just how do you pronounce the surname of Celtics latest acquisition?
No matter how they tried to convince us everyone know Scheidt was pronounced shite and unfortunately for the Hoops fans the Brazilian lived up to his surname.
A £5 million signing, he came to Scotland as a fully fledged Brazil internationalist though it was later to be revealed he was one of a number of players selected to wear the famous yellow shirt as a financial benefit to the disgraced coach Wanderley Luxemburgo.
He made three appearances for the Celts before disappearing back to Brazil, described in a Guardian feature as the second worst transfer in the history of the game.
- Mark Burchill
Scottish football fans are always looking for the next Kenny Dalglish or Denis Law and in Mark Burchill we thought we had found him.
Bursting through the ranks at Celtic Burchill was tipped as a potential star, 20 goals in only 17 starts was evidence of that.
He notched the fastest ever hat-trick in a European competition match and was also drafted into the national side but alas it was all to end for this new hope as Martin O’Neil did not see him being part of his revolution.
Burchill was transferred to Portsmouth and was last heard of plying his trade in the Cypriot League.
Perhaps he should have opted for a career in music, like his uncle Charlie the bassist in Simple Minds.
- James McFadden
Watching Scotland struggle in their recent World Cup qualifiers you could not have blamed sections of the Tartan Army dreaming of James McFadden. For a few years Faddy possessed the swagger and God given ability which made him a favourite with the national teams fans, scoring 15 goals including that never to be forgotten stunner which stunned the French in their own backyard.
Motherwell fans had the joy of watching him develop putting both Celtic and Rangers to the sword before he was on his way to the Premiership with Everton snapping him up.
But injuries and poor form saw him fail to become a Goodison Park favourite so it was off to Birmingham and now?
He was last seen training with Motherwell and is currently without a club.
At 29 McFadden should be at the peak of his powers but it looks as if we have already seen the best of this gallus little Glasgow showman.
- Craig Gordon
In 2005 Scottish football was in a state of flux. The Old Firm were not leading the table, it was George Burley’s Hearts who were top dogs, winning their first ten matches.
And at the heart, pardon the pun, of their success was goalie Craig Gordon.
The 6ft 4 in Edinburgh man was considered to be one of the UK’s top goalkeepers, claiming the number one slot in the national team.
A £9 million move to Sunderland followed, a then record for a UK based transfer of a goalie, but after watching seven go past him in a hammering against Everton he was dropped and struggled to get back in the side.
Serious injuries saw him miss a large bulk of matches too and despite being awarded with the honour of producing the best ever save in the history of the Premier League Gordon was deemed surplus to requirements by Sunderland gaffer Martin O’Neil.
Talk of a possible move to Celtic never materialised and Gordon is now looking to get his career back on track.
- Adam Virgo
Gordon Strachan should be remembered as a good Celtic manager.
Three successive titles and a place in the last 16 of the Champions League should be evidence of that.However one real blot in his copybook was his signing of Adam Virgo. In July 2005 Celtic purchased this Scotland B cap for £1.5 million from Brighton with Strachan hailing him as a player who was reliable in various positions.
Celtic fans though remember him as someone who was hopeless no matter where Strachan played him, conceding a penalty on his debut before being substituted was a omen of things to come. Three years later and after a couple of loans spells back in England Virgo was punted back to South Coast. He’s still playing, at Bristol Rovers just don’t mention him to Strachan.
- Filip Sebo
He left Scotland in 2007 but every now and then you can still hear his name chanted off a Saturday inside Scottish football grounds. Trouble is the chant of Sebo! Sebo! Sebo! tends to heard after some unfortunate soul has blazed a shot well wide.
Sebo was a Paul Le Guen signing for Rangers, that should tell you all you need to know about his talents. A Slovakian internationalist he arrived in Scotland as one of the infamous ‘Austria Vienna three’ alongside Libor Sionko and Sasa Papac.
But whilst Papac went onto become a fans favourite Sionko and especially Sebo became a figure of fun thanks to his inept abilities.
He found the back of the net twice before Walter Smith returned to tidy up the mess left by Le Guen and Sebo was shown the door. Sebo is actually doing well currently in the Slovakian League, yes you did read that correctly, but will forever be remembered as one of the worst strikers Rangers have ever had.
- Kris Boyd
With 164 goals in 296 appearances in the SPL Kris Boyd can quite rightly be considered one of the deadliest forwards ever to played in the top League in Scotland.
In December 2009 he fired home 5 goals in a 7-1 hammering of Dundee United overtaking the legendary Henrik Larsson as the top goalscorer in the history of the SPL. Trouble was Boyd gained a reputation as someone who could only do it against poor teams.
Walter Smith certainly thought so, continually dropping him to the bench for clashes against Celtic and games in Europe.
Seven goals in eighteen international matches is a decent record though Boyd could have earned more had he not had taken the huff with George Burley and opted for a self imposed international exile.
Craig Levein recalled him but after moves to Middlesbrough and Turkish outfit Eskisehirspor turned out to be disastrous Boyd is no longer involved with the national side and is now plying his trade for the mighty Portland Timbers. Too those who always felt he was a bit portly himself it seems a good fit.
- John Fleck
As a teenager John Fleck was being talked about as Scotlands answer to Wayne Rooney.
Making his debut for Rangers at only 15, Fleck was tipped to become a sensation, becoming the youngest ever player to play in a British Cup Final when he came on as a sub in 2008 Scottish Cup Final. But fall outs with Walter Smith and then Ally McCoist saw Fleck fail to live up to his billing and he only managed two goals in a Light Blue shirt before heading for pastures new.
A loan spell at Blackpool was followed by a move to Coventry City and at only 21 years of age have we already witnessed the best of John Fleck?
- David Goodwillie
There are not many people who could claim to have scored with his first touch against world champions Spain but David Goodwillie has that on his CV.
Brought up in the notorious Raploch estate of Stirling which produced Duncan Ferguson Goodwillie rose to prominence with Dundee United being named Young Player of the Year in 2010.
But off the field life was not so good with two assault convictions and a rape allegation, later to be dropped lead him to earning unsavoury headlines. A big money move to Blackburn followed but Goodwillie struggled to nail down a regular place and is now out on loan at Crystal Palace where he yet to find the net.
David Goodwillie was once thought of Scotland’s latest saviour but will we ever see his likes again?