Celtic captain Scott Brown is out of contract in the summer.
In years past, supporters would be clamouring to keep ahold of the iconic number 8. Since signing in 2007, the former Hibs midfielder has made over 600 appearances (Celtic FC), putting him in elite company at Parkhead.
Only a handful of Celtic legends have made as many starts for the Bhoys, including Alec McNair (641), Pat Bonner (641), Danny McGrain (663), Roy Aitken (672), Paul McStay (677) and the sadly missed Billy McNeill (790).
Still, with the emergence of Ismaila Soro over recent weeks, the combative Brown’s contract status has flown below the radar. It’s been an unusual season all-round for Celtic, but it seems strange that the conversation around Broony’s future has been so quiet.
If our captain was on the verge of extending his stay, you’d have thought there’d be more discussion. So, then, enter 67 Hail Hail, as we argue the cases for releasing or extending Broony’s time with the Bhoys.
The case against keeping Celtic captain Scott Brown
Celtic find themselves unlikely to win the Scottish Premiership for the first time in a decade. That can’t be blamed on our captain, but it’s been an unplanned transitional season for Celtic.
With the likes of Craig Gordon, Mikael Lustig and Scott Sinclair leaving over the last two seasons, the squad has become much younger. It was a genuine surprise when Celtic went after Shane Duffy, who at 29 is comparatively geriatric at Lennoxtown. Sadly, it’s not worked out for the Irishman.
In Brown’s case, he represents the old core of the Celtic team, and fans are increasingly favouring the youth movement at the club. When Broony is on the park, the Bhoys look so much slower in both defence and attack. The pace of Celtic’s play crawls in comparison to when Ivorian midfielder Ismaila Soro is on the pitch.
His pass completion is typically solid (WhoScored?), but Brown’s overall influence has waned. Receiving possession, he’s lost that yard of pace, and looks hurried taking the ball on. His decision-making has become more conservative, with his knack for passing the ball backwards frustrating fans endlessly.
When he came on against Rangers at the weekend, his impact was minimal. Sure, he noised up opposition players, but in actual footballing terms? You could forget he was playing.
It’s a sad end for a brilliant Celtic player, a man who has helped to bring unprecedented success to the club. Nobody could’ve imagined the trophy haul that the club has achieved under Broony’s stewardship, but his time looks up. He turns 36 in May and he’s had a good innings.
The case for keeping Broony in Green and White
Come on, though.
It’s Scott Brown.
So few have achieved what Broony has. Should Lennon leave in the summer, does it not make sense to have Scott Brown around to ease the transition?
As a leader, Brown is unparalleled. He’s dragged us to victory on so many occasions that it’s hard to pick key examples. His voice carries immense weight, and his doggedness attracts distraction from opposition players.
Consider the accolades: he’s won 10 league titles, 6 Scottish Cups, 7 league cups, over 50 caps for Scotland, and has twice been Celtic’s Player of the Year. That’s ridiculous, and when you have someone as decorated as Brown, you need him around.
Sure, Soro looks like he’s the future. But Broony’s presence could help to mould the Ivorian midfielder’s game for the positive. With someone like Scott Brown teaching him, Soro could learn valuable positives in terms of mentality and leadership.
Unless Broony retires, the thought of seeing him playing in other colours is bizarre. Even if his role in the squad is greatly diminished, Celtic would lose out on so much if he’s let go on a Bosman in the summer of ’21.
If we don’t win the league this year, it seems brutal to let Brown go on a sour note.
It would be a sad end to an incredible Celtic career. It’s an entirely avoidable prospect, and one that that Peter Lawwell shouldn’t entertain.