Celtic legend Scott Brown is one of the most decorated players in Scottish footballing history [Transfermarkt].
Undoubtedly a Hall of Fame entry once he hangs up his boots, Broony has won everything there is to win in Scotland. Multiple times. His presence, leadership and technical qualities have made him a Celtic icon. Truly, we’ll remember him with reverence when the dust is settled on his time at the club.
At 35, his legs are beginning to betray his clinical footballing brain. Many times this season, he’s looked out of sorts, and has been replaced intermittently with Ismaila Soro. The Ivorian youngster undoubtedly has shades of a younger Broony; perhaps why he excites the Celtic support so much.
So, naturally, talk turns to what happens next for Scott Brown. His contract runs out at season’s end. There’s been discussion of a player-coach role, something shot down by the interim boss. The players want him to stay in and around the first-team, if Stephen Welsh is a reliable source. He’s shown in flashes this season that, if appropriately rested, he can still contribute.
There’s an option that nobody is discussing though, that might work out better in the long run.
A clean break for Celtic hero Scott Brown?
Broony has seen it all and done it all at Celtic. I’ve no doubt he’s committed to the club, and would probably stay if given a choice.
But what if he wasn’t? Surely, a new set-up behind the scenes at Celtic will be able to make objective decisions for the benefit of the club. One of those decisions might be cutting the Celtic legend loose, for a while at least.
There are so many other footballing cultures, and it would service Broony well to take a year in abroad. If his aspirations are in coaching, the tunnel-vision of the player-coach-manager route at Celtic is incredibly limiting. In John Kennedy’s defence, he’s taken in sessions outside of Celtic, taking time out to gain knowledge of other set-ups.
As a player, Broony has the opportunity to do that. There are no doubt a long list of clubs who would still take the soon-to-be 36-year-old. He’s already been linked with a move to Australia [Scotsman], turning down a move in 2019. Things are different now, though, and expanding his knowledge of the world game might give him better tools for a coaching gig in the future.
I’m not, for even a second, suggesting that Broony wants to be Celtic manager. Truthfully, I don’t know the guy personally, nor his aspirations. But if he wanted to chase that goal, there is precedent.
Jimmy McGrory managed Kilmarnock before Celtic. Billy McNeill earned his stripes at Clyde and Aberdeen before managing the Bhoys. Willie Maley spent a year playing for Manchester City before being appointed Bhoys boss.
Expanding his footballing mindset with a year or two abroad might be the perfect thing for Broony. Parting will be sorrowful, there’s no doubt. And please, don’t read this as any kind of wish to boot the captain out the door.
For the long term, though? It might just be what Scott Brown needs.