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Report: Celtic cult hero remains one of Derby County’s most pointless transfers

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Despite being a cult hero with Scottish giants Celtic, defender Efe Ambrose didn’t enjoy the same luck in English football with Derby County.

During the 2018/19 season, as Derby County aimed for promotion to the Premier League under the management of Frank Lampard, Efe Ambrose was brought to the club on a free transfer in an attempt to strengthen their squad.

Unfortunately, Ambrose failed to find his footing at Pride Park and fell short of making the desired impact in the East Midlands. His time at Derby County was marked by struggles and disappointment, leading to the consensus that his signing was ultimately pointless for all parties involved.

In retrospect, Ambrose’s move to Derby County will be remembered as one of the club’s most futile signings, failing to meet expectations and failing to contribute significantly to the team’s goals during a crucial season.

Efe Ambrose’s time at Derby County

Efe Ambrose’s move to Derby County in February 2019 came after he exercised an option in his contract with Hibernian, allowing him to leave the Scottish club. Initially joining Derby on trial, Ambrose did enough to impress manager Frank Lampard, earning a short-term deal until the end of the season.

However, despite signing as cover for center-backs Richard Keogh and Fikayo Tomori, Ambrose struggled to break into the first team. Keogh and Tomori featured in every match following Ambrose’s arrival, leaving him on the sidelines. Ultimately, Ambrose made just two appearances for Derby’s under-23 side in Premier League 2 and failed to make a matchday squad for the first team.

The move proved to be fruitless for both Ambrose and Derby County. Ambrose failed to secure regular first-team football, while Derby missed out on his contributions despite paying his wages. As the Rams narrowly missed out on Premier League promotion, Ambrose was released at the end of his short-term deal.

In hindsight, it’s evident that staying at Hibernian, where he was a regular starter in the Scottish Premiership, would have been a better career move for Ambrose. His brief stint at Derby County is considered one of the club’s most pointless signings, as it yielded little benefit for either party involved.

Efe Ambrose’s career since leaving Derby County

After departing Pride Park, Ambrose remained a free agent until February 2020, when he returned north of the border to join Livingston.

After just over a year at Livingston, he was on the move again, this time joining Scottish Premiership side St Johnstone for the 2021/22 season.

However, he found playing time hard to come by at McDiarmid Park, and was loaned to Scottish Championship side Dunfermline Athletic for the remainder of the season.

The 2022/23 season marked another fresh start for the ex-Derby County man, and he was on the move again, this time joining Greenock Morton. Just one season followed there, before dropping down to the third-tier of Scottish football with Queen of the South for the current campaign.

Efe Ambrose’s senior career
Club Seasons
Kaduna United 2006-10
Bayelsa United (Loan) 2008-09
Ashdod 2010-12
Celtic 2012-17
Hibernian 2017-19
Derby County 2019
Livingston 2020-21
St Johnstone 2021-22
Dunfermline (Loan) 2022
Greenock Morton 2022-23
Queen of the South 2023-

At the age of 35, Efe Ambrose continues his professional football career, albeit at a significantly different level from his time at Celtic. Currently playing for Queen of the South in the Scottish League One, Ambrose’s journey has taken him far from the days of lifting trophies and participating in Champions League matches with Celtic.

While Ambrose remains a beloved figure among Celtic fans, his stint at Derby County was far less successful. In fact, he is largely remembered at Derby for his disappointing performances, marking him as a significant disappointment for the club. His time at Derby is often characterized as a pointless signing, failing to make the intended impact on the team’s performance.

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