Former Celtic defender Efe Ambrose joins St. Johnstone

By Euan Davidson

September 11, 2021

Amidst all the drama of yesterday evening, you might’ve missed some news about former Celtic defender Efe Ambrose.

Because while Dom McKay was stealing the headlines, Ambrose signed for St. Johnstone on a free transfer [Edinburgh Live].

Ambrose, an enigmatic and unpredictable centre-back, won four titles with Celtic. Then, the African Cup of Nations winner took in successful spells with Hibernian and Livingston, with a brief stay at Derby County sandwiched in-between.

The back-flipping centre-half has joined to bolster a St. Johnstone side that was picked apart late in the transfer window. After losing Jason Kerr and Liam Gordon, manager Callum Davidson needed some experience and quality in the middle of his defence.

Averaging nearly 1 tackle and interception per 90 last season, with 2.9 clearances, Ambrose had a decent campaign with Livi last year [WhoScored?]. Released in the summer, the Nigerian ex-Celt will be happy he’s not had to move far.

Cartwheeling former Celtic defender Efe Ambrose staying in Scotland

Yes, he may have cost us the odd game, but I’m willing to stick my neck out here and say that Efe Ambrose was underrated.

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You don’t win 47 Nigeria caps if you’re useless. You just don’t. And although there were clangers in his time at Celtic, he was part of a very solid defence for quite a while.

More than decent on the big occasion, Ambrose was part of the side that kept Barcelona quiet at Celtic Park. He was also instrumental in breaking a Celtic record for clean sheets in 2014, with a monumental 11 shut-outs [Herald].

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

That broke a record that was in place since the 1920s.

An immensely likeable player, and plenty sturdy on his day, it’s great to see Ambrose remain in the Scottish Premiership. And at a good team, too, with the Saints coming off the back of a domestic double.

At 32, he’s still got a few good seasons left in him. As something of a cult hero at Celtic, he’ll always get a warm reception when St. Johnstone visit the East End of Glasgow.

Read more: Former Celtic striker Mark Viduka says he left his heart at Parkhead