The last of the famous?
It is now only a matter of weeks until Scott Brown leaves Celtic. I typed that three times before and the laptop deleted it, automatically thinking it’s spam, those words just weren’t meant to be strung together.
I think we’ve been spoilt for Captains and options for the armband in the past. Billy and Paul instantly spring to mind, Tom Boyd and Paul Lambert were very able, and now it’s very easy to add Scotts name to the illustrious list.
Unlike the past though, no successor is apparent. At least not to me.
In general I would imagine or even encourage a manager to source (buy) his new Captain if he feels that character isn’t already in the building, but money is tight and I imagine Captain material isn’t cheap either.
It’s just not that simple and we are in a bit of a bind I believe.
The Celtic Captaincy is also different than others in that they have the pregame huddle every match to deal with. This calls for a different skill set than talent with your feet which can rule some out of the search. A good communicator and speaker of the native language suddenly become factors at play, for better or worse.
When Fergie realized he was letting his long standing, legendary Captain leave, he was smart enough at the time to not replace him like for like, but with a totally different style of player in Michael Carrick.
In hindsight it was a masterstroke.
He knew the new Captains no frills passing game would never get compared to the swashbuckling Corkmans role, and thus the comparisons couldn’t even begin.
This helped take the pressure off Keanos replacement, the Captains role changed instantly.
I contend Glasgow Celtic need a Broony type player on the pitch, the game up north demands it, who will then automatically be judged in direct comparison to Scott when he leaves. That character doesn’t need to get the armband but it does make moving on harder. We fully need at least one holding, tackling defensive midfielder, when one moves he gets replaced, which isn’t great for succession planning but there you have it.
Broonys on-field replacement Ismail Soro shouldn’t automatically inherit the armband of course, but would anyone be surprised if he decided to up sticks for a better league and climate, or wished to move closer to home during the pandemic?
He’s a no and there’s an argument our defensive midfielder should not be the Captain, that position being vital plus offering the ref the most opportunity to get the cards out.
Turnbull hasn’t done enough, same with Taylor, same with Welsh. Bain will be replaced, Ajer will go as will Olly n Eddy and probably Ryan along with Griff.
Of those that can reasonably be expected to stay there’s no reliable strong character to award the armband to, strange but true.
Nir should leave or be moved on, but he’s a big lad, a fixture around the club and training ground, and his name may get discussed.
He’s not Captain material, doesn’t play very often, won’t inspire in the Huddle, and like Soro wouldn’t be surprised if he upped sticks now at the end of era having given long service.
Big Jules has his size going for him if that’s even a metric but not much else.
Like James Forrest he’s missing a lot, may or may not be very committed now his compatriots look set to depart, and unless I’m mistaken isn’t a strong communicator.
James just doesn’t seem to have the gravitas needed for the job, I get the feeling he would rather shun the limelight and the weight upon his shoulders would be unwelcome, and Ill advised.
Which leaves Calmac almost by default, terrible position to be in. Yet he wouldn’t get many ticks beside his name if genuinely accessed. Not inspirational, nor what I would deem a strong character, doesn’t look a leader. He might accept it, but should get a payrise and new contract alongside it.
Looking at the next option, new head coach buying/bringing the new Captain with him, that is a simple sticking plaster fix for the problem. It would feel very alien to us for a brand new character to waltz in and straight away lead the team out. Sure there’s guys out there who really would enjoy that, but would the dressing room accept it, and would it help or hinder that players Celtic career?
We aren’t the most forgiving crowd if truth be told, nerves are extra heightened right about now, and any money spend we will expect first team ready standard more than usual.
Any new player will be under a huge microscope and given the weight attached to the armband, if the new Captain is also brand new in the door, there’s additional weight of expectation.
That’s a lot to ask.
What if they get dropped, don’t settle, can’t take the pressure?
I think a new guy getting the nod would be crazy, yet there’s no new Scott in the dressing room.
As such, all signs point towards moving away from the traditional Captains model of being the group and on-pitch leader.
This may be a little hard for us to swallow than most given some of those Titans mentioned above, but times do change.
That football sage Fergie shunned the tough guy leader, something we also look set to do 15 years later.
Captain, Leader, Legend.
Those days are ending, and it’s us who must now adjust our mindset of what qualities he who leads the team should bring to the table. If new guy doesn’t get in the oppositions face after a hard tackle, isn’t cajoling teammates, is the opposite of what came before him, then we must shrug and admit those days are gone.
Scott Brown could very well be the last of our legendary Captains.