Australia and Hibs star Jackson Irvine on leaving Celtic

By Euan Davidson

May 5, 2021

Jackson Irvine has had a very decent career since leaving Celtic.

Now at Hibs, the Australian midfielder has enjoyed success in England, with Burton Albion and Hull City. With 33 caps for the Socceroos, Irvine has established himself as a quality midfielder at a good level. Yet, Celtic never really fancied him.

Irvine, speaking to Open Goal’s Si Ferry and Paul Slane [49:11], opened up on leaving Celtic, and his encounters with former manager Ronny Deila.

Irvine said [Open Goal]:

“[It’s] funny how timing works out. Neil Lennon left at the end of that season, Ronny Deila came in. And that was basically the end of me at Celtic.

“He just wasn’t interested.

“Basically, he said – and at least he was honest with me – he just said “you aren’t in my plans”. I still went away and played a couple of pre-season games… but he made it clear to me that I wasn’t in the plans at that point. I still had 2 years on my contract.

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“They wanted to get me on loan so they could sell me, which eventually happened.”

Irvine celebrates for Hull / (Photo by Jacques Feeney/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Should Celtic have kept Australia regular Jackson Irvine?

It’d be interesting to know whether John Kennedy fancied taking Irvine back. After all, he coached a side captained by Irvine to two successive Youth Cups [Scotsman], and will have watched his career with interest.

While he might’ve been an option this season, Irvine has struggled mightily with injuries. Hull City gave up on the Australia midfielder and let him go for free, despite having impressed while match fit. It was an unfortunate end to his time in England, and Hibs will be delighted to have picked him up for nothing.

It might seem harsh with hindsight, but remember the quality Ronny Deila had at his disposal at the time. Scott Brown, Stefan Johansen, Callum McGregor, Beram Kayal, Nir Bitton, Stuart Armstrong, Tom Rogic, Kris Commons, the list goes on. There was little to no realistic chance of him featuring for the first-team with any regularity.

And that’s a shame, because Celtic have had a problem providing a clear route to the first-team for Academy products. At the very least, though, Irvine has benefitted massively from a solid footballing education, and has established an impressive career for himself.

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