Celtic assistant manager John Kennedy has dropped two worrying hints regarding club captain Scott Brown.
Brown’s contract is up at the end of the season. After spending 14 years with the Hoops in a trophy-laden era, the time looks right for the former Hibs man to hang up his boots.
In addition to that, he’s correctly been dropped for Ismaila Soro in recent weeks. As harsh as it sounds, this is a decision that should’ve been made months ago given the impact of the Ivorian. Celtic fans are starting to see a huge difference in what Soro brings compared to Brown’s contribution this season.
But despite that, Kennedy says a new contract is worryingly up to Brown. As well as that, he worryingly hinted that the captain could still take part in “big games” despite Soro’s clear impact.
As quoted by the Herald, Kennedy said: “Scott has been absolutely outstanding for us. I’ve known and worked with him for a long time. He’s a top class professional and an absolute legend at the club.
“Playing 60 games a season is difficult for anyone, but especially at Scott’s age. It gives us the option of changing it around at times. Scott will still be an important character for us, whether it’s in big games or even just around the place. Him and Soro are now battling it out
“Does he have another year in him? I think he might have. It will be Scott’s decision. I’ve spoken to Scott myself and I know he’s spoken to people at the club in terms of beyond the season.”
John Kennedy comments on Scott Brown a slight concern for Celtic
There’s a bit of a constant fear for Celtic fans at the moment regarding the starting XI. A fear that Neil Lennon will throw Brown back in as soon as he gets the chance to do so. As soon as Soro’s form takes its first dip perhaps.
Brown and Soro aren’t battling anything out at the moment like Kennedy attempts to portray. The Ivorian midfielder is Brown’s successor, and we’re now seeing a passing of the torch. The captain is still there if necessary of course, but this should be viewed more as a transition than a battle.
As for a new playing contract, that should not be in Brown’s hands. If it’s to do with keeping him involved and around the place, why not bring him on as a first-team coach ahead of next season? Or perhaps help coach the youths like he was helping out with in the past.
There are plenty of non-playing roles Celtic could give Brown. Keeping him around doesn’t mean that he has to be used as a player. In fact, this season suggests he would be more detrimental to our on-field performances than he would be off of it.
Brown’s character and personality hasn’t waned as much as his pace over the years. He can still be a big influence behind the scenes. However, the club needs to be a touch more authoritative here. Allowing an employee to decide whether they get a new contract or not? This doesn’t sound dependent on performances either.
If this season has shown us anything, it’s that Brown’s deal is expiring at the right time. He’s even admitted this would be his last contract in the past. Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, there’s been nothing this season to suggest that should change.