Former Celtic striker Craig Beattie makes scathing verdict on Oliver Burke

By David Walton

June 11, 2019

Former Celtic and Scotland striker Craig Beattie has given a bit of a scathing verdict on departed Celtic man Oliver Burke.

Burke only days ago came up trumps for his country with a superb goal against Cyprus. He lept tremendously well to win an initial header that came back off the post, before he calmly slotted home the rebound.

It was the shot of confidence Burke needed after struggling during the second-half of the season at Celtic. Scotland’s new hero made 17 appearances at Parkhead during his short loan spell from West Bromwich Albion. In the majority of them, Burke showed a glaring lack of technical ability and game intelligence.

Oliver Burke struggled to make a consistent impression at Celtic (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

And former Celt Beattie, speaking in the Herald, was straight up about his attributes.

“I was watching the game and I was hesitant to say it, but I’m scared that Oli Burke is going to turn into a [Mario] Balotelli. I think he has all the ability in the world – he is so quick, so strong, his physique is incredible. There is no question he could improve his first touch but he has so much ability and so much potential.

“But I just watch him at times and think he doesn’t know where to run, he doesn’t want to run. He is going to struggle [to find a club] because it is no secret what the English perception of Scottish football is.

“They [English clubs] will be looking at Oli Burke, coming up here with a huge reputation and two huge price tags, and he can’t get a game for Celtic. When he goes back down south, his reputation is going to be tarnished.”

Lack of technical ability could prove costly

This is exactly why many Celtic fans wouldn’t have Burke back. Yes, he’s an absolute athlete and has the pace any player would dream of having. But the basics such as his ball control, shooting, knowing when to make runs – it’s all still undeveloped.

Burke became a hero for his country on Saturday night (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

It’s unfair to question Burke’s attitude. He’s a hard worker, and proved that during his time at Parkhead. But he’s also a player who hasn’t been looked after well enough during his career. He hasn’t had the proper coaching to improve his technical ability, and it’s obvious when you watch him play.

Price tags such as £15m (The Guardian) doesn’t help him either. He needs to be priced at a lot less than that, or else potential suitors will refuse to take him on. He’s nowhere near a £15m player yet, but he certainly could be one day.

To say his reputation is tarnished is perhaps a tad over the top, but you can see what Beattie means. Burke has now failed to get a game regularly for his last three clubs. RB Leipzig, West Brom, and Celtic have all given him chances that he hasn’t taken.

Burke is surely unlikely to be back at Celtic next season (Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/WBA FC via Getty Images)

Considering he hasn’t yet managed to make a club work for him, that will be another thing that will put off potential interest.

But Burke deserves a bit of luck in the game. Hopefully, his Scotland exploits are rewarded with another opportunity in Belgium tonight. He could certainly use the minutes if nothing else.