Why Scott Brown had to leave Celtic now

By Euan Davidson

March 25, 2021

So, Scott Brown announced he’ll be leaving Celtic.

And in doing so, he leaves a gigantic void. Since signing for the Bhoys in 2007, his impact has been immeasurable. It’s not just in the accolades. 10 titles, 6 Scottish Cups and 6 Scottish League Cups were all won by Scott Brown at Celtic. There’s more, though.

His leadership has been absolutely incredible. In his peak, he dragged the Bhoys through to the finish line with three points. Brown’s fearsome, silent demeanour in the tunnel won matches before a ball was kicked. Countless Glasgow Derby wins, crunching tackles, fantastic moments.

You can pin-point the exact moment he went from fan favourite to hero. After verbally jousting with El-Hadji Diouf of Rangers, he took a pass just outside the box on a packed Ibrox pitch. He takes a touch, moves it to his stronger left foot and curls in an absolute peach. Then, a simple gesture: arms lifted aloft, eyes straight at the Gers man. It was brilliant.

There are numerous other moments in Brown’s Celtic highlight reel. His “battle” with Joey Barton was particularly funny, especially the one-liner [Daily Record]:

Celtic on verge of first January signing, as Hatate says his goodbyes | Celtic vs Aberdeen Preview

“I was just making sure he was all right.”

His winding up of Ross County man Mihael Kovacevic [YouTube/SPFL]. Celebrating being tackled by his new club, Aberdeen [YouTube]. All classic moments. The guy will forever be a hero to Celtic supporters.

He’s picked the best time to move on, though. Here’s why.

Scott Brown celebrates another Celtic trophy win (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Scott Brown: why Aberdeen move works for him

Scott Brown was always going to be at a fork in the road this season. His contract was set to run out, of course. But more than that, his performances weren’t matching up to his lofty expectations.

There were early signs. In the Europa League, where Brown has excellent, he lacked the yard of pace to defend quicker European midfielders. Against AC Milan in particular, he was giving the ball away far too easily. In matches since, his influence has waned.

At Aberdeen, the expectations are still high, but not Celtic high. Given that he’s doing his coaching badges, but still wants to play, there’s no more perfect scenario than him. Perhaps if Stephen Glass had been taking over at Hibs, but Aberdeen is an even better fit for Broony.

We don’t know anything about him as a coach yet, but we know he’s an incredible influence around Lennoxtown. His colleagues absolutely love him, from Charlie Mulgrew to Odsonne Edouard, via Kieran Tierney. Bringing his likeable off-field character to Aberdeen will lift their squad from day one.

It also gives him better long-term opportunities at Celtic. It seems like destiny that Scott Brown will return to the club one day. Perhaps as an assistant, a coach or even as our manager. There’s historical precedent for this; Billy McNeill took this exact route, managing the Dons before two spells at his beloved Bhoys.

Fearless: Scott Brown / (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Scott Brown: why move works for club

Unfortunately, the reality is that Scott Brown would’ve needed shoe-horned into the side next season. There is a ready-made replacement for him in Ismaila Soro, and the pace of the team is better when Brown isn’t in it.

He’d admit that himself. Brown, until now, was perfect as a midfield engine. Under Brendan Rodgers in particular, he was revitalised as a defensive midfielder who would camp in the opposition half and rarely have to leave it. High-pressing, high-intensity; both could describe Broony to a T.

He’s the kind of player who wants to cover every inch of the pitch. However, with the pace Celtic have wanted to play this season, he’s not been able to control the game in the way he’d have wanted to. There have been glimpses of vintage Brown this season, but they’ve been more fleeting.

Now, the club can look to the future. Callum McGregor, Ismaila Soro and David Turnbull have the credentials to be our midfield for the next 5 years at least. That’s an exciting prospect, and Scott Brown is serving the club by stepping aside and letting these players develop.

It’s desperately sad he won’t get the goodbye he deserves.

But if anything is a certainty, it’s that a packed Celtic Park will roar Scott Brown’s name next season. Regardless of the colour of shirt he’s wearing.

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