IF your email inbox is anything like mine, you’re probably being inundated daily with images of sunned Adonises bathing on foreign shores with discounted, bumper, all-inclusive, villa-holiday tags pinned everywhere offering “deals” destined to keep you in the red for the remainder of 2024. Perhaps it’s the year of the staycation.

Since the January transfer window came into being over two decades ago, the pressure on Glasgow’s big two clubs to procure talent from every corner of the globe in the quest to mount a sustained challenge in the second half of the season has been palpable. The money spent is probably still being counted in some underground vault in Royal Exchange Square now. For every Reo Hatate, there’s an Eboue Kouassi; for every Nicolas Raskin there’s a Mateusz Zukowski. The net balance on these transactions is practically impossible to quantify, but the demands from supporters to continually strive to improve the first team will always propel speculative activity in the market whenever the window opens.

Glasgow Times: Midfielder Eboue Kouassi failed to live up to expectations at CelticMidfielder Eboue Kouassi failed to live up to expectations at Celtic (Image: SNS)READ MORE: What next after Celtic and Rangers ticketing talks hit wall?

Last summer, for instance, Rangers’ spending spree under Michael Beale brought in a host of exotic names from the continent and beyond who have struggled to make any meaningful impact at Ibrox. Cyriel Dessers and Sam Lammers arrived from Italy’s first and second tiers respectively, Brazilian forward Danilo was brought in from Feyenoord, while Ecuadorian Jose Cifuentes arrived from Los Angeles FC. The total outlay for this attacking quartet was in the region of £14m. They have played a combined 101 matches in all competitions for Rangers this season and scored, between them, 19 goals.

Glasgow Times: Sam Lammers has been loaned out of Rangers to UtrechtSam Lammers has been loaned out of Rangers to Utrecht (Image: SNS)READ MORE: Former Rangers boss Steven Gerrard signs Al-Ettifaq extension

Scotland striker Lawrence Shankland, meanwhile, has scored just one fewer than that combined total for Hearts in 28 matches for the Tynecastle club in all competitions.

Managers often talk about January being a tough window to negotiate. Given the balance of power between the Scottish leagues and those in England, Spain, Germany, France and beyond in Europe, players who are available at this time of year tend to be out of their respective sides and lacking sharpness. There is an inevitable bedding-in period which managers can spin as setting them up for the following season’s European competition qualifiers.

But there was a time when Celtic and Rangers looked closer to home. And it’s an approach that stands up to reason. In the list of all-time top-scorers in Scotland’s top division, the top-six players all played for Celtic and Rangers. Kris Boyd on 221 is followed by Henrik Larsson on 143, next is Leigh Griffiths on 122 closely followed by Scott McDonald on 116, Anthony Stokes on 102 then Kenny Miller on 98.

Glasgow Times: Scott McDonald was a hit at Celtic following move from MotherwellScott McDonald was a hit at Celtic following move from Motherwell (Image: SNS)READ MORE: Arsenal recalled Mika Biereth from Motherwell loan

Apart from Celtic legend Larsson, there is a running theme between the other five forwards on the list. Boyd was signed from Kilmarnock in the January window in 2006, Griffiths broke through at Livingston, McDonald was signed from Motherwell, Stokes had shone during a loan spell with Falkirk and was also signed from Hibs, and Miller, who played for both sides of the Old Firm, also came through at Easter Road.

The goals provided by each of these players over the last two and a half decades helped their sides to Premiership titles and domestic silverware, propelling them onto the European stage and laying the foundations for the “development model” both clubs currently operate within, where young talents are brought, given a platform to win those titles and perform in European competition, then earn moves to bigger leagues for inflated fees.

The obsession with those development dividends at Celtic Park, and the Ibrox club’s attempts to mirror their rivals’ successes in this department, has seen an influx in players from leagues as far and wide as Japan’s J-League and MLS in the United States recently. Are both clubs guilty of overlooking ready-made talent right under their noses in the Premiership? The question is, in today’s money, would a £5m move for Boyd, McDonald or Miller be considered value for money? Of course it would be, which begs the question: what is stopping Celtic and Rangers from procuring tried-and-tested attacking talent in the division they are trying to win?

Glasgow Times: Kris Boyd is the Premiership's all-time top scorerKris Boyd is the Premiership's all-time top scorer (Image: SNS)READ MORE: Yan Dhanda Hearts transfer latest as Ross County make stance clear

This January, Celtic have been linked with Aberdeen striker Bojan Miovski. The North Macedonia striker has scored 15 goals in 29 appearances for the Pittodrie club this term, including in their group-stage campaign in the Europa Conference League. Rangers remain heavily linked with a move for Hearts talisman Shankland. Miovski, indeed, fits the development model at just 24 years of age; Shankland may be in his prime at 28 and is unlikely to fetch a major profit following a move to his boyhood heroes, but surely his goals are worth the transfer fee alone?

Glasgow Times: Bojan Miovski has scored 15 goals for Aberdeen this seasonBojan Miovski has scored 15 goals for Aberdeen this season (Image: SNS)READ MORE: Celtic hero Neil Lennon's son Gallagher joins Dumbarton

Both clubs currently have bloated squads and will struggle to offload those players resting comfortably on long-term contracts and in no hurry to leave. Surely if £14m can be sanctioned by the Rangers board for the aforementioned cluster of project players last summer, a figure which meets Hearts’ valuation of Shankland can and should be met.

Sometimes the grass may appear greener on the other side, the sunshine can look brighter on those holiday brochures, but in terms of value for money and tangible measures for success, both Celtic and Rangers’ scouting departments could and should be looking closer to home for potential targets. If a player is outperforming either side of the Old Firm in the Premiership, then chances are they will only benefit from a move to an all-round better side in the country’s top two teams. With a title race on the cards this season, you wonder what is keeping them?