Why Liam Burt had to leave Rangers for Celtic in 2019

By David Walton

October 14, 2021

Liam Burt has stated why he had to leave Rangers for Celtic in 2019 as he outlined the reason he kept the move a secret from the Ibrox club.

Burt’s Ibrox contract came to an end before being snapped up on a free transfer by Celtic later that summer. The player had already made his Rangers debut, but his heart still lay at Celtic Park.

Over the 9 months he spent in Glasgow, Burt, unfortunately, failed to make a senior appearance. Instead, Covid struck and football as we knew it was plunged into uncertainty. The midfielder would end up leaving in the summer of 2020 and now plies his trade with Bohemians in Ireland.

Photo By Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile via Getty Images

And for the first time, he’s finally opened up on the transfer process involved and explained why he kept the move a secret from the Ibrox club.

As quoted by Football Scotland, Burt said: “I wasn’t really interested in signing a year contract to be perfectly honest (at Rangers). I just wanted to go and enjoy my football. I knew a good few boys who were at Celtic and obviously I supported them, so it was quite an easy decision.

“I knew if I went to Celtic, I would enjoy playing football and wearing the strip again. So that’s how it all came about. As soon as they found out that I was leaving when my contract expired on June 1, Celtic contacted me in the middle of May to go and play in a game. But I was just coming back from an injury and I said no at the time because I wasn’t fully fit.

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“I explained that it would be quite a hard conversation to have with Craig Mulholland if I was still under contract at Rangers and I was going to go and play with Celtic. Maybe if Rangers knew that, they would have put the compensation clause back in my contract. So I kept it quiet. When my contract ended, I then signed for Celtic. I had a couple of coaches from Rangers wishing me good luck. There was no real anger. It was just the coaches wishing me all the best.”

Liam Burt showed underrated bravery in leaving Rangers for Celtic

Burt was of course judged for his footballing ability and on that basis alone. However, what isn’t talked about enough is the heart he showed in crossing the Glasgow divide.

Sure, many players do it at youth level. But Burt had already signed a professional contract at Rangers beforehand. He had already made his debut for the Ibrox club too, and was one of their hottest young prospects.

To then move directly to Celtic because that’s where his heart lay? You’ve got to admire it. Especially if the option was there to continue his development at Rangers.

Photo by Power Sport Images/Getty Images

Ibrox supporters will paint this as Celtic having signed a Rangers reject. But it looks as if it’s the other way around. Burt appears to be the one who told our rivals no. And him leaving Govan unceremoniously that summer now makes total sense.

It’s just a shame it didn’t quite work out. It certainly wouldn’t been hilarious had Burt managed to become a Celtic regular. A player effectively developed for us by Rangers.

Oh well. At the very least he can say he’s pulled on the green-and-white and gave it his all.

In other news, Ismaila Soro could miss key Celtic games in 2022 if he earns Ivory Coast recall