Date: 24th September 2020 at 8:57pm
Written by:

Is it time for us to bench our captain for a while?

Yes

Yes

No

No

Celtic captains have wonderful legacies to uphold.

For the most part.

There have been spells in our history where we haven’t been winning, and when being a Celtic captain was a weight to carry much heavier than it is right now. Even then, being a captain of Celtic was seen as a momentous thing, and players – like McStay – brought great honour to the role.

It is an axiom of football that some folk stay at a club longer than they should.

Long enough to become a legend, and to see that tarnished by the steady march of time.

I think often of the late, great Brian Clough, two-time European Cup winner at Forest, who’s final act as manager there was to see his team relegated. Ibrox fans will talk about McCoist; a legend as a player, but who’s time as a manager at the two clubs there has ruined his iconic status forevermore.

I think of the great servants to Celtic, like Larsson, who I am forever grateful avoided that fate … and I find myself thinking more and more about Scott Brown.

Nothing would be more ghastly than to see Scott Brown become the brunt of sneers and jeers from our fans and the butt of jokes for our rivals. Nothing would be more wasteful of his fantastic, and honourable, service to our club than to go out a laughing stock or that nagging feeling that he was here a season more than was good for either him or us.

And the thing of it is, there’s no reason why it has to end that way; Brown’s status as a Celtic icon ought to be secured. If he and his reputation were protected by Lennon then I have no doubt that it would be intact by the time this mammoth, historic campaign ends.

But the longer he plays on, the longer the manager insists on keeping his wearied legs at the centre of the engine room, the more likely it becomes that our last memories of Brown in a Celtic shirt will be negative ones. Perhaps not disastrous ones, but that dreadful possibility exists too.

No matter how well he’s kept himself fit, Brown plays in a role which requires more energy than he’s able to sustain. On top of that, it’s increasingly evident that other players, such as McGregor, are having to cover for him more than we’d like, and that pulls them out of position and lessens their own contribution at the same time.

Nobody in our support wants to see Brown end his time at the club as one of those guys who the forums and the radio stations and the blogs are hollering for to be dropped because of bad form and a cascade of mistakes.

Better that the manager realise this is the likely outcome before it happens and give Brown a break for a while … for his good and the good of the club itself.

Brown is a drug we need to wean ourselves off of anyway.

For too long the question of who replaces him has haunted us, and it shouldn’t. We should have grasped that nettle long before now, and we have wasted a lot of money signing on Eboue and now on Soro if neither of them was going to get the chance to show us what they could do.

It is time, but thankfully it is not yet past time.

This doesn’t have to end with Brown being castigated simply because he’s no longer a young thruster with it all in front of him. He’s our captain and our leader and our inspiration, and he’ll be those things whether he’s on the park or not … like Tom Boyd was for many years as “club captain” as well as team captain.

Brown has been too good a servant to Celtic for this to end in acrimony or bitterness or even something so prosaic as regret.

If Soro isn’t good enough to step into his shoes for a while, then that’s a serious problem because he cost us serious money. If he is good enough then leaving him out of the squad entirely on nights like tonight is just stupid and senseless.

The manager ought to give him a chance, and let Brown sit some matches out.

It protects him, his reputation and will improve the pace of the team.

Soro may not be the long term answer, but we aren’t going to find that out with him sitting permanently in the stand.

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