Opinion – Long term Celtic target released by Burnley; but is he good enough anymore?

Robbie Brady’s Burnley career has come to an end following the announcement that his contract will expire in a month’s time, prompting the annual Celtic link to become more prominent than ever.

As an avid Burnley fan (god forbid, I know), I’m going to give you an honest opinion as I have done throughout my time writing for The Celtic Star, weighing up one of two things over his potential transfer. Should I remain in my position of being sat firmly on the fence, doused with dread over with a man I used to worship? Additionally, you have to weigh in another important aspect about the Irishman; is he the man Celtic require to get them back to Scottish success?

Upon his arrival from Norwich City for a then club record fee, Brady was the man who would catapult Burnley from relegation battlers to the lower half of mid-table. An absolute wand of a left foot, his style of play suited us to a tee; Ashley Barnes, Sam Vokes and Chris Wood lapped up his crosses all day, being the hoof-ball team that we have been described as in the media over our Premier League stay. In 2017/18, we played the best football I have ever witnessed on Turf Moor, finishing 7th in a league ablaze with an abundance of talent – and European football followed for the first time in 51 years.

Brady had a huge part to play in this in the first half of the season – by the time Burnley played Leicester City in December, we were sitting pretty – just five points off fourth place and a Champions League spot – and he had contributed heavily. Assists such as this one, against Tottenham, proved his price tag to be worth it as we looked for a place at the highest continental table.

Akin to a pre-booked breakfast at Caesars Palace, we were the customer and Brady was the waiter, the man who made things happen.

Going back to the Leicester game, this was the sour grape; the game which pretty much signalled the end of his career.

A horrific tackle by the fridge-like Harry Maguire ruled Brady out of action for just under a year – and he hasn’t been the same since. Making just twenty starts for Burnley since the Leicester game 3-and-a-half-years ago just isn’t good enough, especially if you have a large fixture list such as Celtic’s (assuming that European football is to be played. Add this to his deteriorating skillset – in which he was subbed on and subsequently off again in a recent six-pointer against Fulham – and you are left wondering where it all went wrong for such a promising signing.

It begins to beg the question. Having seen the best years of Robbie in our European wonderland season – and alternatively his worst, injury plagued years in a Burnley shirt where you could see him struggling in a relegation battle – do you see through the bias of a man who has definite quality and can’t produce it? Or do you think of the one flash in the pan where he can change a game (and arguably a season) for Celtic?

I’m going to go out with a heavy heart and say that no, Brady isn’t good enough for Celtic anymore, despite the strenuous links we’ve had over the years.

He isn’t quick enough at all now, less so of a winger but more of a wide midfielder or even a wing back. You know that thing Forrest and Karamoko do, you know, beat players? Robbie doesn’t offer that at all. His athleticism has gone hugely downhill, too – not being able to complete a 90 minute match has taken its toll on him.

However, there is his crossing, which is some of the best I’ve ever seen in a Burnley shirt, which is by far his main asset. Celtic’s inability to convert possession into clear cut chances this season has been the most frustrating and ultimately telling factor into why Neil Lennon’s side struggled. Brady’s on the ball qualities are still somewhat (if not perhaps all) there, and this tiny bit of quality on the ball could be the make or break in a few fixtures next season.

Alongside this, without wanting to come across as your typical flippant, arrogant and dismissive Englishman (especially before June 18th, where I may have egg on my face), but the quality of the sides Brady has faced are, let’s be honest, multiple times better than those who make up the Scottish Premier League. This is where Brady may come in handyhaving faced opponents such as Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool over the years, Brady could potentially play a key role in the fixtures that surround the UEFA Champions/Europa League schedules that Celtic play in.

Think of your Sunday afternoons in Dingwall, where Edouard and co. are flat out from travelling to Kazakhstan on a Thursday night. This is where Brady would come in handy – although the wage he would require again would dispel the rumours that have been banded about for decades about his ‘imminent move to Celtic’.


Of course, I would want a player from my favourite team to come in and really shine at my second favourite team – it is no less than Robbie deserves after a torrid time with injuries over the past three seasons. However, there comes a point where you have to put sentiment to the side and think of the bigger picture – if Eddie Howe wants him in, I’m all for it.

Take it from me; we were told by Norwich fans when he signed that ‘it depends which Robbie Brady turns up’ – something which stuck with me throughout his Burnley career, and something that proved to be true. I was passed the message on by his former supporters, and it is that same message that I am grateful enough to be in a position where I can relay that to masses of Celtic fans.

You have been warned.


About Author

Comments are closed.