SPFL to the EPL: 6 Players Who Made A Successful Move From Scotland to England

The Scottish Premier League has proved to be a breeding ground for talent over the years; talent that has, on occasion, made its way down south with great success.


In light of Stuart Armstrong's recent move from Celtic to Southampton, we take a look at the six best SPFL exports to grace Premier League: 



6. Giovanni van Bronckhorst

Giovanni van Bronckhorst was already a regular or his country when he moved from Feyenoord to Rangers in 1998. 


He played 73 times for Rangers before moving to Arsenal in 2001. He was bought for £8m to fill the hole Emmanuel Petit left and partnered Patrick Vieira in midfield. Injury hampered his career at Arsenal, however, in his two years at the club he won the Premier League and FA Cup.  

5. Victor Wanyama

Wanyama joined Celtic in 2011 from little known Dutch team KFCO Beerschot Wilrijk. The no nonsense defensive midfielder endeared himself with the Celtic fans for his tough tackling and heart. After two years he secured a move to Southampton, where - once again - fans loved his never say die attitude. 


Often the unsung hero, doing the dirty work while others take the limelight, Wanyama went about his business week after week. This peaked the interest of Tottenham Hotspur, who signed him in 2016 for £11m. Injuries have hampered his first team football, however, Wanyama is still highly regarded in the Premier League. 

4. Stiliyan Petrov

When Stiliyan Petrov signed for Celtic as a teenager in 1999, he struggled with homesickness.  However, Petrov is made of stern stuff, playing 228 games for Celtic over five years, winning four league titles and three Scottish Cups. 


He moved to Aston Villa for £6.5m in 2006 and eventually became captain. In 2009 he led his team to a sixth place finish in the league, an FA Cup semi final and the League Cup final. Petrov was player of year in 2009 as well, and is recognised as a club legend by both Villa and Celtic. 

3. Mikel Arteta

Signing for Rangers in 2002 for £6m, Arteta quickly became popular with fans. He scored on his Old Firm debut and contributed with vital goals during the domestic treble winning year of 2003. Starting as a defensive midfielder, he spent one year at Real Sociedad before Everton picked him up on loan. 


David Moyes, manager of Everton at the time pushed him into a more forward role where Arteta flourished and was player of the season in 2007. His tactical knowledge and his pinpoint accuracy attracted interest from bigger clubs, notably Arsenal who paid £10m for him in 2011. Arteta went on to win two FA Cups as well as a number of individual accolades, before taking up a coaching role at Manchester City

2. Virgil van Dijk

Signed from Groningen for £2.6m in 2013 Virgil van Dijk won the Scottish Premier League in both of the seasons he played for Celtic. Good in the air, quick and dangerous in attack, van Dijk was picked up by Southampton for £13m. 


He continued to impress and improve, becoming a stalwart in the heart of the Southampton defence. Van Dijk wanted a big money move and got his wish this January, when he signed for Liverpool for £75m. He integrated quickly into the Liverpool set up and helped them to the Champions League final in 2018. 

1. Brian McClair

Brian McClair played for Motherwell in the Scottish Premier League before moving to Celtic in 1983 for the measly sum of £100,000. Converted to a striker at Celtic, McClair went on to score 99 goals in 145 games for Celtic over his four years in Glasgow. 


This attracted the attention of Manchester United who bought the striker for £850,000. He scored 24 goals in his first season, a feat not achieved by a Man Utd player since George Best in 1968. At the end of his career he was battling for places in the United team with Andy Cole and David Beckham, however, he could still be counted on to produce high quality football. In his ten years in Manchester, McClair won four Premier League titles, two FA Cups as well as two European trophies.