IT is a little over 20 years since Celtic made their very first signing in a January transfer window – the £350,000 capture of Stephen Pearson from their Premier League rivals Motherwell.

But since Scotland midfielder Pearson was brought in on January 9, 2004 - with money which then manager Martin O’Neill stumped up personally out of his own pocket - there have been around 70 new recruits to arrive at Parkhead halfway through a campaign.

Many have made a significant impact and helped the Glasgow giants to enjoy success at home and abroad in the seasons which have followed. Numerous others, however, have barely been sighted after their official unveilings.

Celtic fans will be hoping that Nicolas Kuhn, the German winger who was last night set to complete his £3m move from Rapid Vienna in Austria to the Scottish champions after undergoing a medical in London, is more Daizen Maeda than Marvin Compper.

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The prospect of the Premiership leaders strengthening their squad and increasing their chances of beating Rangers to the top flight trophy once again this season is an exciting one for their supporters.

Glasgow Times: Since the winter break got underway, internet message boards, social media websites and radio phone-ins have been awash with feverish speculation about who Brendan Rodgers has his eye on?

The UEFA executive committee recommended introducing two periods of transfer activity during the course of the year to their 51 member associations back in 2002 because they felt it would result in a more “harmonised” system.

Punters everywhere, though, have been thrust into a state of complete discombobulation in the first month of the year ever since. 

But do January signings actually make a real difference to the outcome of the league? Every manager will say tell you it is a difficult window to do meaningful business in. Often the only individuals who are available and affordable are not getting a regular game. So can a goalkeeper, a defender, a midfielder or a striker be brought on board who becomes the deciding factor in a title race?

Players have certainly done so in the past. Just two seasons ago, Ange Postecoglou was struggling to get 11 fit senior footballers on the park in the weeks before the winter break and was forced to turn to youngsters like Joey Dawson, Owen Moffat, Liam Scales, Liam Shaw and Adam Montgomery.

He went out and brought in, among others, Reo Hatate from Kawasaki Frontale, Maeda from Yokohama F Marinos and Matt O’Riley from MK Dons. Celtic were a team transformed domestically with the trio involved in the centre and final third of the pitch. They won 15 and drew three of their remaining 18 league fixtures and finished four points clear of their city rivals.

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That was not the only occasion when some shrewd dealings in January have been rewarded with silverware.

Gordon Strachan’s side were failing to convince onlookers on the home front towards the end of 2007 – they were held to draws by Hearts, St Mirren and Hibernian and lost to Inverness Caledonian Thistle in December – and rumblings of discontent were growing in the stands despite their qualification for the Champions League knockout rounds. 

Glasgow Times: Strachan signed right back Andreas Hinkel, midfielder Barry Robson and striker Georgios Samaras. All three were important players as Celtic beat Rangers in the final two Old Firm games of the season, won their final seven league outings and came from behind to land the trophy by three points on the final day in May.

Walter Smith’s men stumbled in the closing straight as they tried to fulfil a punishing fixture backlog and there was great unhappiness down Govan way at the demands which were placed on them. Still, Hinkel was reliable at the back, Robson struck up a superb partnership with Hartley in the middle of the park and Samaras pitched in with vital winners against Aberdeen and Motherwell.

But it has not always been thus. For every Hinkel, Robson and Samaras, there has been an Edson Braafheid, a Willo Flood and a Vakoun Issouf Bayo.

Some players also take time to settle and perform to their best of their abilities. Mikael Lustig is the perfect example of that. The Swedish internationalist rarely featured after joining from Rosenborg in Norway at the start of 2012. On the occasions he did start, he produced underwhelming personal performances. He hardly contributed to their title triumph that season. But the full-back stepped things up the following term and is now rightly regarded as a modern day great.  

Even when players do make an immediate impression, it is often not enough to ensure that Celtic prevail in the Premiership.

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Kris Commons was nothing short of a revelation after being pinched from under the noses of Rangers for a bargain basement £300,000 fee from Derby County at the beginning of 2011. He scored in the sixth minute of his debut against Aberdeen in a League Cup semi-final at Hampden and very much continued in that vein thereafter. The playmaker, though, was helpless to prevent Rangers from retaining their league crown.

Robbie Keane was much the same. Huge crowds gathered outside Parkhead when the Republic of Ireland internationalist joined from Spurs on loan on February 1, 2010. He did not disappoint. He was on target 16 times in 19 appearances in the following three months. But Tony Mowbray still ended up getting sacked and a humiliating Scottish Cup semi-final defeat to Ross County was suffered.

Glasgow Times: Rodgers had mixed fortunes in the January window during his previous stint in the dugout at Celtic. Compper was a spectacular failure, Eboue Kouassi did not develop as anticipated and Charly Musdona failed to provide a creative spark up front. But Oliver Burke, Timothy Weah and Scott Bain all justified the faith he showed in them.

The Northern Irishman will be hoping that Kuhn follows in their footsteps - but if you know your history you will realise there are no guarantees that a player who is brought on board at this stage in a season will be a game changer.



No signings.


Stephen Pearson (£350,000 from Motherwell).


Stephane Henchoz (loan from Liverpool), Craig Bellamy (loan from Newcastle United).


Mark Wilson (£500,000 from Dundee United), Roy Keane (free agent, signed in December).


Steven Pressley (free transfer from Hearts), Mark Brown (£100,000 from Inverness Caledonian Thistle), Jean-Joel Perrier-Doumbe (loan from Rennes), Paul Hartley (£1.1m from Hearts).


Andreas Hinkel (£1.9m from Sevilla), Koki Mizuno (£300,000 from JEF United Chiba), Ben Hutchinson (£500,000 from Middlesbrough), Georgios Samaras (loan from Manchester City), Barry Robson (£1.2m from Dundee United).


Niall McGinn (£500,000 from Derry City, Milan Misun (£500,000 from FK Pribram), Willo Flood (£1.3m from Cardiff City), Filip Twardzik (undisclosed from Hertha Berlin), Patrik Twardzik (undisclosed from Hertha Berlin).


Ki Sung-Yeung (£2.1m from Seoul), Jos Hooiveld (£2m from AIK), Thomas Rogne (Bosman from Stabaek IF), Morten Rasmussen (£1.3 from Brondby), Diomansy Kamara (loan from Fulham), Paul Slane (£400,000 from Motherwell), Edson Braafheid (loan from Bayern Munich), Robbie Keane (loan from Spurs).

Glasgow Times: 2010/11

Freddie Ljunberg (free transfer from Chicago Fire), Tony Watt (£100,000 from Airdrie United), Kris Commons (£300,000 from Derby County).


Mikael Lustig (free transfer from Rosenborg), Rabiu Ibrahim (free transfer from PSV Eindhoven), Pawel Brozek (loan from Trabzonspor).


Rami Gershon (loan from Standard Liege), Tom Rogic (£400,000 from Central Coast Mariners), Viktor Noring (loan from Trelleborgs FF).


Holmbert Friojonsson (£100,000 from Fram Reykjavik), Stefan Johansen (£2m from Stromsgodset), Leigh Griffiths (£1m from Wolves).


Michael Duffy (undisclosed from Derry City), Gary Mackay-Steven (£250,000 from Dundee United), Stuart Armstrong (£2m from Dundee United).


Erik Sviatchenko (£1.5m from Midtjylland), Patrick Roberts (loan from Manchester City), Colim Kazim-Richards (free transfer from Feyenoord).


Eboue Kouassi (£2.8m from Krasnodar).


Marvin Compper (£1m from RB Leipzig), Lewis Morgan (£300,000 from St Mirren), Charly Musonda (loan from Chelsea), Scott Bain (loan from Dundee), Jack Hendry (£1.5m from Dundee), Leo Mazis (undisclosed from Belconnen United).


Oliver Burke (loan from West Bromwich Albion), Timothy Weah (loan from Paris Saint-Germain), Vakoun Issouf Bayo (£2m from Dunajska Streda), Marian Shved (£1.7m from Karpaty Lviv), Andrew Gutman (undisclosed from Indiana Hoosiers), Manny Perez (undisclosed from NC State Wolfpack), Jeremy Toljan (loan from Borussia Dortmund).


Patryk Klimala (£3.5m from Jagiellonia Bialystok), Ismaila Soro (£2m from Bnei Yehuda).


Jonjoe Kenny (loan from Everton).


Reo Hatate (£1.4m from Kawasaki Frontale), Yosuke Ideguchi (£850,000 from Gamba Osaka), Daizen Maeda (loan from Yokohama F Marinos), Johnny Kenny (£125,000 from Sligo Rovers), Matt O’Riley (£1.5m from MK Dons).


Yuki Kobayashi (free transfer from Vissel Kobe), Alistair Johnston (£3m from CF Montreal), Tomoki Iwata (loan from Yokohama F Marinos), Oh Hyeon-gyu (£2.5m from Suwon Samsung Bluewings).

Glasgow Times: