Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton has backed Bhoys captain Scott Brown for a contract extension.
Earlier this week, we spoke about Broony’s contract situation. It felt like a major story that was flying under the radar. Now, through controversial pundit Chris Sutton, the scenario is getting the publicity it deserves.
Brown has made over 600 appearances for Celtic. That puts him in the esteemed company of club legends like Billy McNeill and Paul McStay (Celtic FC).
Sutton reckons that Scott Brown still has a big part to play at the club. With his deal running out in the summer, Sutton backed him for a contract extension.
In his Daily Record column, the former Celtic hitman was clear in his feelings about the inspirational number 8.
“[Brown]’s been sat on the sidelines in other recent matches as Ismaila Soro has taken his place and really cemented a spot in the side.
It all points to a career winding down. An inspirational skipper who is coming to the end of the road with a contract expiring at the end of the season.
But I’ll tell you one thing. With so much uncertainty around Celtic and huge upheaval looming in the coming months, it would be crazy not to have Brown around that dressing room for 2021-22.”
Celtic legend’s feelings are clear about captain Scott Brown
It’s difficult to say whether Broony would accept a diminished role at Celtic.
Nothing suggests that he’s taken the emergence of Ismaila Soro badly. For his part, the former Scotland captain must be more aware than anyone of his limitations, given the midfielder’s age.
There is an obvious benefit to keeping Broony around beyond the summer, as former Celtic man Chris Sutton pointed out:
“Leading from the front in training sessions and even in post-match fitness routines after he’s not played in the game, he’s a shining example to the rest. New players get to understand what it’s all about from him. They take a lead from him. He can be the glue to new pieces.
When I was there, Tom Boyd barely played at the end of his career, yet he was still part of the group. He was the captain and had the respect of the boys. A constant.
Having that type of influence around the place in the shape of Brown and that continuity when there could be mass overhaul at the club is absolutely vital.
Even if he barely kicked a ball next season, you look at what’s coming and feel that Brown simply needs to be offered a contract or a role and be there to assist with any transition.”
However, there’s a good argument that Celtic have relied on Broony for too long. Clearly, things haven’t gone to plan this season. Along with the future of Neil Lennon being in doubt, perhaps further freshness is needed on the pitch.
It’s hard to ignore how much better Celtic look with Soro playing in Brown’s position. The pace of the Bhoys’ play and the chance creation are worlds apart.
One constant in an uncertain future
With so much up in the air, it’ll be fascinating to see whether the Celtic hierarchy keep the legendary captain around for 21-22.
There’s every chance Neil Lennon won’t be the manager next season. I can certainly understand the argument that some form of continuity will be useful going forward.
Odsonne Edouard, Kristoffer Ajer and others will be away in the summer. That’s the most likely scenario. If Celtic make an ambitious choice for the next head coach, Broony would be a useful resource. Nobody in the squad understands the club like he does.
If a ‘Celtic man’ isn’t appointed, Brown can help whoever comes in to familiarise themselves. He’d be the perfect link between the squad and the higher-ups. Perhaps a coaching role would be included in any new contract.
Ultimately, it’s up to Scott Brown. Only he knows what his immediate future holds. For Celtic hero Chris Sutton, though, the choice is clear.