If you assess Celtic’s midfield, it’s fair to say it’s not an area where the Bhoys are too stacked for quality.
Combine that with a lack of opportunities for Ismaila Soro and players like Luca Connell and there are obvious holes to fill.
This will be a summer of transition for Celtic and how they could do with a tireless and combative midfielder to replace Brown.
Had they been smarter about their transfer business, they could have had his heir right in the palm of their hands.
Instead, he’s now plying his trade in the Premier League for Aston Villa. The man in question is a certain John McGinn.
Villa were in the Championship at the time but they secured a bargain with the Scot, someone who has become not only a star for Scotland but also a gem in the English top-flight.
Opening up on his failed move three years ago, McGinn said last year: “It was important to weigh up everything and not just go with my heart because I had basically made up my mind I wanted to join Celtic.”
The midfielder added: “But I also had to weigh up in my mind how strong Celtic’s midfield had been for a long time.
“I remember speaking to Brendan Rodgers and he said the important thing I would take from it was I would play games. But Steve Bruce said I would play every game.”
The midfielder ultimately played a vital hand during Aston Villa’s promotion-winning campaign, scoring seven goals and registering nine assists.
He’s not hit the same dizzy heights since they entered the Premier League but his influence has been mightily impressive, winning four man of the match awards last term.
Playing as a deep-lying midfielder, he has registered four assists for the Villans this term, establishing a feared partnership with the effervescent Jack Grealish.
Celtic have won a plethora of trophies in recent years so their mistake wasn’t felt too hard. That is until now, however.
They need to strengthen their midfield and McGinn would have been perfect. Instead, they will be wondering ‘what if?’
McGinn is as dynamic as they come in the middle in the park. He has made 1.6 tackles per game this term but has also completed over one key pass, shot and dribble a match.
He has also been among the goals for Scotland, scoring three strikes in as many World Cup qualifying matches.
A wonderful overhead kick against Austria a matter of weeks ago tells you the qualities the midfield general has.
Though, Celtic could have signed him before he’d even made the jump to Hibs. Celtic podcaster Paul John Dykes recalled last week: “So you’ve got a wee guy playing for St. Mirren and I remember being at a St. Mirren game and I was introduced to Tommy Craig, who was at that time managing St. Mirren. And talking to Tommy Craig, he says – keep an eye on young John McGinn.”
Dykes continued: “I think he might’ve been 17 or something like that. This was at Celtic Park and he was the best player on the pitch. Celtic won that day. But wee McGinn was superb. So you’re looking at that and you think, why didn’t we go for him even then?”
Celtic’s midfield may have been their strength a few years ago but the £50k-per-week McGinn would now walk into this side. He is proving to be a costly mistake from the Hoops recruitment team.