In a few months time, Scott Brown will finally bring down the curtain on his Celtic career.
It has been a triumphant 14 years at Parkhead for the defensive midfielder, a time in which he has captained the Hoops to unparalleled success.
Brown has won ten Scottish Premierships, six Scottish Cups and six League Cups since arriving at Celtic in 2007.
He is nothing short of a Hoops icon, a player who has led the charge in terms of their incredible domestic success over the last two decades. However, with his contract up in the summer, he has agreed to become a player-coach at Aberdeen.
His exit is timely for several reasons. After they were finally usurped by Rangers again, it feels like now is the perfect time to bring through a new generation of Celtic players.
With that in mind, it’s in with the new and out with the old. Brown has arguably done the right thing; his performances this season have been slower and the Bhoys could do with fresh blood.
When looking at Brown’s natural successor, you may cast your eyes to a certain Ismaila Soro. The Ivorian has stood out at times this term, winning no fewer than ten tackles during Celtic’s win over Lille in the Europa League.
However, it’s a player not even at the club yet who could be Brown’s ready-made heir.
A few weeks ago it was confirmed that Celtic had agreed a pre-contract with Sheffield Wednesday’s Liam Shaw. The midfielder will arrive this summer and, judging by his qualities and positional sense, he could be the man to take Brown’s place in the squad.
Described as “very promising” by former Wednesday manager Tony Pulis, he is adept at playing as a central defender or as a holding midfielder.
So far this season, Shaw has won 0.8 tackles per game. That might not be the highest of numbers but he’d certainly be a more dynamic option than Brown in the middle of the park.
During Wednesday’s recent match with Rotherham, he played three key passes and produced four dribbles. With Brown lacking the legs to cover ground this season, the youngster should certainly add a lot to Celtic’s midfield.
However, the 20-year-old’s composure is crucial. After the clash with Rotherham, Owls reporter Dom Howson wrote: “Confident in possession as usual on his return to the side following a two-match suspension. Showed bags of energy.”
At the grand price of absolutely nothing, he’d be an astute Brown replacement. That being said, he’ll have plenty of impressing to do in order to live up to the Scotsman’s legacy in Glasgow.