Efe’s Back – Ex-Celt Ambrose signs 18 month deal with Livingston

FORMER CELTIC and Hibs defender Efe Ambrose has joined Livingston on an 18 month contract. The Nigerian has been without a club since his period at Derby County came to an end.

The West Lothian side are currently fifth in the league and want to ensure that they achieve a top six finish. And Efe will get a chance to face his former side when Celtic visit the Tony Macaroni Arena on Wednesday 4 March.

Ambrose was delighted to get the deal agreed to join Livi. “I spoke to Marvin Bartley when I got the idea in my head to come back to Scotland,” Efe explained to the Media, as reported by Scottish Sun.

“When he went to Livingston from Hibs in the summer I followed the move closely. I watched him play and called him up and he told me it was a really good club.

“I also know what has been going on in Scottish football because I have been watching even when I was back home in Africa. And eventually I decided I wanted to come back to Scotland and play again.

“So I spoke with Marv and then spoke with the coaches to see what we can do and everything progressed from there.

“I thought something might happen in December but we couldn’t get it done at the time. I was disappointed, I kept asking my agent to see if we could make it happen.

“And when Livingston signed another defender in January I thought the door was closed. But the chance has now come up again. And now I want to help Livingston achieve what they want to, which is the top six, and then fight for the European places.

“Nothing is impossible in football,” Efe said.

Ambrose, now 31, arrived at Celtic in 2012 and immediately became a fans favourite with his trade-mark summersaults when he scored away to St Mirren. But Barcelona – they the greatest club side in the world were due to arrive in the East End of Glasgow and Celtic were far from being at their strongest. It was no problem to Efe and Co and Messi and other superstars were kept out until finally getting a goal in stoppage time but it was too late with Celtic already two goals to the good.

Ambrose went to the African Nations Cup in early 2013 and ended up winning the trophy with Nigeria and the Celtic man was named in the team of the tournament. He rushed back to help Celtic and play in the Champions League against Juventus but the Italians had noticed a weakness in dealing with high balls up the park and they ruthlessly exposed Efe’s Achilles heel.

More mistakes followed and gradually the support turned on Ambrose and it clearly affected his confidence. After scoring an own goal in Dublin in a friendly against Barcelona early in Brendan Rodgers’ time at Celtic manager, it was clear from the support’s reaction, that everyone had had enough and Rodgers put everyone out of their misery by moving Ambrose on.

Rodgers had this to say about the Nigerian.

“One of the best relationships I had here was with Efe Ambrose and I never played him,” he said.

“But I loved him. He treated me with respect and I made sure he trained with the group every day. We worked on what he could do better. He’d come into my office and thank me for the training, for helping him see the game differently.

“What a man. OK, he might not be for me. But he’s a good guy who’s served his time here. He’ll probably go and play somewhere else. He might not have been able to do it for me in my starting 11. But he’s got a family at home, a missus who’s just given birth to his child. He’s still a human being. When he’s 70 and he looks at me, hopefully he’ll say I did the best for him,” the Celtic Wiki reported.

The Celtic Wiki also listed half a dozen notable mistakes that all added up to the end of the line for Efe in the Hoops.

1. Juve screw up in the Champs league which set us up for the defeat.

2. Ross County 2016 penalty/red card from an unnecessary challenge and led to our defeat and KO from the League Cup.

3. Red Imps, culpable for the 1-0 defeat and goal (admittedly he wasn’t the only one).

4. Barca friendly game own goal after we’d just fought back to 1-1 (bit unfortunate but always seems to be him involved).

5. Red Card in Legia Warsaw game which we lost 4-1 (got out of jail with this result after post-match stuff saw result overturned).

6. Celtic 2-0 up v Fernerbahce, and then errors mostly stemming from Ambrose cost us the 3pts, 2-2 draw at the end.

Yet plenty of supporters retain a soft spot for Ambrose – a hero of the best Celtic result in several decades – and Efe has always remained a Celtic man.

When he scored for Hibs against Celtic and refused to celebrate and ironically never put a foot wrong in any of his appearances against his old club. We certainly wish him well at Livingston.

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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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