Scott Brown has announced that at the end of the season, the Celtic captain will be leaving the club for Aberdeen, after a star studded 14 years.
I recall a bitterly chilly April night in Paisley in 2015. As an Englishman there is always a hope that things will start to warm up by April, but no such luck could be found that night in Paisley. The cold night hosted St Mirren v. Celtic, with the promise of watching the hosts take on the big boys, the serial winners that were the green and white half of Glasgow. It was impossible to ignore the constant presence of a certain man in the middle of a pitch. A player, who went about his business ruthlessly and clinically. St Mirren ended up losing 2-0, with one of the main reasons being pointed to the man in question, Scott Brown.
Fast-forward six years to 2021; empty, Covid secure grounds, endless televised football – somehow sanitized of its warrior spirit; a pandemic ravaged world in Lockdown; and, perhaps most significantly, the end of Celtic’s domestic dominance.
Whilst you are here, take in the Celtic career of Scott Brown: 612 club appearances, 46 goals, 10 Scottish Premier League Titles, 6 Scottish Cups and 6 Scottish League Cups. Whatever you think of the Celtic midfielder (and there will be those among you who actively dislike him) that is some going, in fact: that is Gladiator level.
Forget, if you will, the seven career red cards to date, please also forget the 105 (yes, really, 105!) yellows. Forget the disciplinary issues, the SFA investigations, the Police enquiries, the endless goading of opposition players. Instead, remember as I do, a player that made Celtic tick, that was their heartbeat, their enforcer, their engine.
There is no doubt, that many believe that Brown should have stuck around at Parkhead, overseeing the dramatic rebuild under a new manager. But that is surely the sentimental, negative view. What Brown has decided to do, should in time, play out as a pragmatic and wise decision. At 35, it is already evident to Brown himself that his ability to mobilize in the middle of the park is fading.
Aberdeen should, in theory, be a good fit for Brown. Working with Stephen Glass, his ex-Hibernian team-mate, the Celtic man will gain a solid foothold in coaching whilst still being able to play valuable minutes. Admittedly not at quite the same pressured, elite, Old Firm level.
I am reminded of my very own favourite enforcer, Roy Keane, and the acrimonious split of Sir Alex Ferguson and Keane at Manchester United. None of the seething interviews and accusations witnessed then for Scott Brown and his Celtic departure. This parting of ways seems sensible, amicable even. Brown will be looking to add to that prodigious trophy haul in the Scottish Cup by the end of the season.
Moving forward, Celtic will look to Callum McGregor as their new captain: a player that probably bleeds green and white, having been at the club since the age of eight. They will, of course, need new management, but for the good of Scottish football, they will hopefully regenerate, with a new metronome: a new Scott Brown.
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