O Captain, My Captain

Though it’s neither the most iconic nor the most important photo in Celtic history, this is my favourite photo of Scott Brown, after winning the league at Rugby Park. And I also feel bad for Greg Taylor, too.

Without anything else to divert my attention — thanks, International Break — I have been mulling the departure of Scott Brown, the only captain I’ve known at Celtic as a fan, while both navigating the five stages of grief and speculating about what this move might mean for Broony, as well as Celtic, in the future.

I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist, and I don’t have any tinfoil hats that fit me well, but after processing the whole departure of the heart and soul of Celtic, I get the sense that Brown will be back: This player-coach stint at Aberdeen is just a warm-up and a “learning the ropes” for a future managerial stint at Parkhead.

It’s just a hunch, but there are precedents at play here.

The great Jock Stein ended his playing days at Celtic and later went on to manage Dunfermline Athletic and Hibernian before returning to Celtic and making history. The same for Tommy Burns, who left Celtic for Kilmarnock late in his playing career — serving as a player-coach (sound familiar?) for Killie — before returning to manage the Hoops.

Celtic captains and icons Scott Brown and Billy McNeill.

So while I am brokenhearted at the prospect of next season without Brown, as well as sad at the prospect that he will not get a proper send-off thanks to COVID-19, I do think we have not seen the last of this Celtic legend playing a role for the Bhoys.

And who takes the armband from next season? One popular debate is that it is up for grabs between Callum McGregor and Kris Ajer. Both would excel at the role of captain, but I would give the nod to CalMac — not to take anything away from Ajer, but McGregor has done it numerous times in Brown’s absence and he has a long history as a catalyst to the club’s recent successes; a history I hope continues until he hangs up his boots years from now.

In the meantime, there are bhoys playing for their national teams today — Ajer and Norway are hosting Turkey, and Jonathan Afolabi, Luca Connell and the Irish are hosting Luxembourg. Mon the Hoops on International Duty!

6 thoughts on “O Captain, My Captain”

      1. I agree. He could have gone but has made it clear he is committing his future to the club. As with Tierney and Broony he has been overplayed in recent seasons and because of international duty gets no break.

  1. Great Billy McNeil club captain went on to have success with Aberdeen and then Celtic, so it’s a revolving door, you play and you learn, you never stop learning, you move into management away from the club and learn and then become the manager and keep learning.
    All that is required is the desire to want it and Brown has the desire and experience to excel in the game, we wish him well and await the return in the future.
    Nice article Larry.

    1. Right, Boab — Shame on me: I had completely forgotten about Billy McNeill managing the Sheep and returning to Celtic. I’m going to sit in the corner with the dunce cap for a bit. Thanks for the post! Hail Hail.

  2. I’m not unhappy to see Broony going. He has been an immense Captain and to keep playing beyond the top of his game at Paradise might sully his reputation, just as we’ve seen with others that have stayed too long. I acknowledge that his fire and wisdom would be an asset in the dressing-room but ideally he goes somewhere else and builds up his credentials before coming home to Parkhead to run the show. All hail hail the Broony. \0/

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