The World Cup star’s arrival at Parkhead created a huge stir but his signing turned out to be a massive letdown.
Lisbon Lion Bertie Auld reckons that was less down to the player being over the hill than the way he was deployed in an unfamiliar role by manager Martin O’Neill.
As Neil Lennon prepares to venture into the transfer market this summer, it might be worth remembering that all that glitters is not gold.
There is no need to venture too far back in Celtic’s history for evidence of that.
In August 2004, Brazilian World Cup winner Juninho was paraded at Parkhead after joining on a free transfer from Middlesbrough.
The then 31-year-old had been a member of Brazil’s triumphant 2002 squad, had amassed 50 caps for his country and impressed in the Premiership, so there was much excitement surrounding his arrival.
In keeping with the euphoria over his signing, the diminutive midfielder made an immediate impact on his debut, in an Old Firm win.
Celtic beat Rangers 1-0 and Juninho got a standing ovation when he was substituted towards the end of the game.
It was, however, all downhill from there. Juninho scored the only goal of his one-season stay against Hearts that October in a comfortable 3-0 win at Parkhead.
He was released from his contract at the end of the season after failing to settle at Celtic, then managed by Martin O’Neill.
The player made just 14 starts and was never able to find any sustained level of form. He spent most of his time on the bench, with his face reflecting his unhappiness at the situation. Having been a hero during his time with Middlesbrough, massive things were expected of Juninho at Celtic, but his only memorable contribution was in that first Hoops appearance.
There was always the suspicion that he had joined the club when he was long past his best.
Lennon was a Celtic player during Juninho’s stay in Glasgow and will need no reminder that marquee signings do not always work out.
However, Lisbon Lion Bertie Auld believes Juninho’s biggest problem was not that he was past his best but that he couldn’t persuade O’Neill to play him through the middle.
Stilian Petrov and Lennon were the central midfield mainstays at the time and Auld believes Juninho might have been fared better if he had been handed a free reign there.
“I thought he was an outstanding player,” said Auld, a commentator with Celtic’s internet channel at the time. “He wasn’t the fastest player but had fantastic speed of thought and fantastic feet.
“I always felt that playing him wide on the right was the wrong way to go because a player like that is better deployed running the show in the middle of the park.
“At that point Lennon and Petrov were well established into the way that Celtic played and were a very successful combination.
“But it was a real disappointment to me that Juninho didn’t get a run there. I always remember being quite excited when he signed for Celtic as I felt that he could have made the same kind of impact that Lubo Moravcik did.
“At another time Juninho might well have flourished at the club. But I don’t think there is often a problem with players settling into Scotland and all the rest of it.
“I wouldn’t say that what happened with Juninho should be seen as a deterrent to bringing in other foreign players.
“The big thing with Celtic is that the supporters are pretty canny. They tend to know a good player when they see one and at the same time they can spot those who are shirkers and only there to pick up the cash.
“Good players can turn up and fit into any league even if it sometimes takes them a little bit of time to do it.
“I honestly feel that had Juninho been able to play in his preferred position and had he been given a bit of freedom he could still have made a significant impact.”
1993-95: Sao Paulo 44 (2 goals)
95-97: Middlesbrough 57 (12)
97-99: Atletico Madrid 55 (14)
99-00: Middlesbrough (loan) 28 (4)
2000-01: Vasco da Gama (loan) 47 (13)
2002: Flamengo (loan) 0
02-04: Middlesbrough 41 (11)
04-05: Celtic 14 (1)
05-06: Palmeiras 63 (20)
2007: Flamengo 0
07-08: Sydney FC 14 (0)
2010: Ituano 14 (2)
Other Celtic signing the same summer: Henri Camara (£1.5m loan deal from Wolves).