Celtic and Rangers need homegrown talent for Europe and 6 Scots fit the transfer bill

Former Hibs star Josh Doig could be on the move this summer
Former Hibs star Josh Doig could be on the move this summer -Credit:SNS Group

Celtic and Rangers will scour the globe for new signings this summer. But the Old Firm giants should also be looking closer to home.

As the years progress and the need to appease fans with big-money captures intensifies, fewer and fewer youngsters are coming through the ranks at Lennoxtown and Auchenhowie. Aside from Gers kid Ross McCausland and, to an extent, Celts prospect Daniel Kelly this season, the pathway for Scotland's next generation of talent has been blocked by an influx of expensive imports from foreign leagues.

And that has now presented a major challenge for Glasgow's big two when it comes to meeting UEFA's homegrown rules which states that clubs must include eight club-trained or association-trained players in a named 25-man squad. Rangers stumbled upon that selection headache last season when Michael Beale was forced to omit several first-team players from his European squad - much to the frustration of successor Philippe Clement.

Now, as both clubs prepare to splash out again this summer, their transfer business could be influenced by the governing body's quota requirements as they look to go far in their European adventures - with Celtic already guaranteed Champions League football. In the long-term, there must be a greater emphasis on youths being given fair opportunities at Celtic Park and Ibrox, but in the short-term, both clubs may look at other ready-made Scots who are capable of hitting the ground running.

Of course, there's an abundance of homegrown talent currently playing in the Premiership but we'd rather not upset fans of those SPFL clubs by touting them for moves elsewhere. So with that in mind, we've cherry-picked six Scots currently playing outwith the cinch who should be on the Old Firm's radar.

Josh Doig

The former Hibs left-back was linked with a January move to Rangers but no official offer was tabled. It's unlikely the Ibrox club would've been able to afford him anyway as he eventually completed a £5million move to Sassuolo after Hellas Verona pulled the plug on a switch to Marseille. But the gamble of moving to a relegation-threatened team has unfortunately backfired as his new club were relegated to Serie B after 11 consecutive seasons in the top-flight. Having established himself as one of the standout full-backs in Serie A since making the move from Easter Road in 2022, it's unlikely ambitious Doig will want to ply his trade in Italy's second-tier. The uncapped Scot probably won't be short of options this summer either as a number of clubs in Europe keep tabs on his progress. Celtic and Rangers will likely be among those as both clubs are in the market for left-backs and given Doig's age, the 22-year-old is a perfect fit for the Old Firm's recruitment policy.

Stuart Armstrong

File Armstrong to Rangers in the unlikely category. While stranger things have happened, it's unlikely the former Celtic Treble-winner will cross the Glasgow divide. Out-of-contract at Southampton, the Scotland playmaker looks set to move elsewhere after six years at St Mary's. The ex-Dundee United star played arguably the best football of his career under Brendan Rodgers at Parkhead and the Hoops boss may have his eye on the 32-year-old as a free transfer as he looks to bolster his midfield options. Matt O'Riley will almost certainly break the Scottish transfer record as big clubs including Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan circle and although he wouldn't be a direct replacement, experienced Armstrong would definitely add experience and quality to the middle of the park.

Calvin Ramsay

The Scotland cap's development over the past year or so has been derailed by injury after undergoing knee surgery. The young right-back, 20, has made a handful of appearances at Liverpool since joining from Aberdeen two years ago but has endured frustrating loan stints with Preston North End and Bolton Wanderers this season. With Jurgen Klopp departing Liverpool, the ex-Aberdeen sensation faces a major task attempting to impress incoming boss Arne Slot, who will likely have his eye on a raft of new signings. Brought in as an understudy to the world-class Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ramsay won't be commanding a starting slot at Anfield anytime soon and another loan or permanent parting of ways could be on the cards. The 2021-22 SFWA Player of the Year possesses incredible potential and with question marks hanging over James Tavernier, a move to Ibrox might not be beyond the realms of possibility. Similarly, Celts could do with some competition at right-back for Alistair Johnston, although they do have Anthony Ralston on the books.

Max Johnston

Former Motherwell right-back Johnston had options in England and Italy last summer but opted to join Sturm Graz. And it's fair to say his decision has definitely paid off after winning a league and cup double in his debut season. Johnston, 20, came off the bench to help secure a 2-0 win over Klagenfurt and end Red Bull Salzburg's decade-long dominance of the Austrian Bundesliga. The Scotland under-21 starlet will now get a shot at the Champions League next season as he continues his incredible rise. Johnston's form could also earn him a place in Steve Clarke's squad for the Euros with crocked duo Aaron Hickey and Nathan Patterson unlikely to make the plane to Germany. It would mark another major milestone in Johnston's short career so far and Celtic and Rangers may be left to rue missing out on another Scottish prospect - unless they make a move this summer.

Scott McKenna

Scotland international McKenna was linked with both Rangers and Celtic in January after falling down the pecking order at Nottingham Forest. The 27-year-old has been deemed surplus to requirements at the City Ground and will leave the club when his contract expires in June. Currently on loan with Copenhagen, the former Aberdeen stopper has established himself as a mainstay at the heart of the defence and even tasted Champions League football by starting both last 16 games against Manchester City. A self-confessed Hoops fan, McKenna was on Rodgers' wishlist during his time at Pittodrie and now he's available on a free transfer, there's every chance he'll have interest from both sides of Glasgow. The big two will look to strengthen their defensive options during the close season and McKenna's arrival on a bosman could represent a shrewd piece of business.

Ryan Fraser

Fraser finds himself at a career crossroads after a bitter fall-out with Eddie Howe ended his Newcastle United career. Now 30, the pint-sized winger is approaching the end of his season-long loan with Southampton where he has rediscovered his form by scoring eight goals and contributing three assists for the Championship side. After leaving Scotland for Bournemouth at the age of just 18 in 2013, the Aberdeen academy graduate may well be keen on a return north of the border. It's unlikely the Magpies would be difficult to do business with either as they look to cut ties with the Scotland international, although he's still under contract for another year. Rodgers and Clement will both be looking to add quality to their wide options over the summer and Fraser's availability could be worth considering. Remember, it wasn't that long ago Bournemouth slapped a £30m price tag on his head to scare off interest from Arsenal...