Scott Brown has stated his belief that Oliver Burke’s pace will be missed at Celtic this season.
The Celtic flop went back to West Bromwich Albion after his five-month loan at Parkhead ended unceremoniously last month. Burke only managed four goals during his time in Glasgow, despite often playing as a centre-forward.
He did feature regularly, as he managed to bag 19 appearances in all competitions for the Hoops. But, in the end, he was often out of the team for big games under Neil Lennon.
Despite that, he’s been given a bit of encouragement by captain Brown. Speaking to the Daily Record, the Hoops’ on-field leader praised Burke’s pace, and believes Celtic will struggle to replace it this season.
“You never know, he [Lennon] might play two up. We tried that option with Odsonne [Edouard] and [Oliver] Burke and Burkey will be a miss, that pace he has to go in behind teams when they’re trying to press you.
“Leigh has that as well that he always wants to play on a defender’s shoulder so he can create chances.”
Griffiths or Burke? Not really a contest
Celtic have, in a sense, already upgraded up top with the return of Leigh Griffiths. The former Hibernian and Wolverhampton striker returned to pre-season training yesterday with the rest of the team.
Burke, meanwhile, constantly frustrated fans when playing as a lone striker. He often tried to be a bit too flashy on the ball, and failed to hold it up well enough on many occasions. Griffiths is much more of a danger running in behind, and will be an instant increase in quality over Burke as a lone-striker.
Brown may be hinting at going with two up top, of course, and that wouldn’t be overly-surprising either. Lennon often liked his partnerships when he was manager, such as Gary Hooper and Anthony Stokes, for example. Considering he has the likes of Griffiths and Odsonne Edourd available to him, nothing can stop him giving that potential partnership a go.
The captain is most likely paying tribute to a departing player still looking for guidance in Burke. But the truth is that if we end up missing the Scotland international then we’re in a bit of trouble.
Everyone wishes Burkey the best next season. He remains raw potential for now. But as for Celtic, we’re hopefully moving onto better quality for the next campaign.