Scott Brown is having his testimonial at Celtic Park in the near future, and Ireland have been announced as the opposition. Everything seems in place – except the logic as to why.
Nobody quite epitomises Celtic like ‘Broony’ and the club’s former manager Martin O’Neill would be bringing his Irish side to Glasgow as some sort of gesture. As everyone knows, the Derry native is one of Celtic’s most decorated managers, so there is some sort of link, even if it doesn’t quite stand up as credible.
The rationale for bringing an international side to Glasgow will be dressed up as a warm-up for the Republic’s games against France and the USA, but in reality, the idea to bring an international side to Parkhead is only to boost attendance figures.
It’ll be a combination of Celtic fans singing republican songs and Irish fans pretending they’ve got direct ties to Celtic. A cringe-fest, if you will.
Everyone is entitled to their political views, but that level of immersion in Irish republicanism will only do a few things. One of those things is undermining a footballer who has served a football club with relative grace for over a decade.
Brown deserves to play against old team mates, or a side that represents his progression in his career, not the national side of a country to which he has no link – regardless of the supposed identity that Celtic represent.
Money has never mattered too much to Brown and his sentiment and affection for the club he’s played for has always been the primary reason for his loyalty. His testimonial should reflect that, but instead Celtic want a PR exercise that will backfire brilliantly.
This isn’t an attack on anyone – it’s merely an observation that the most likely explanation is usually the right one. O’Neill shouldn’t be altering a schedule of a national side, regardless of whether or not they’re in the World Cup.
That squad, by the way, will include Aiden McGeady. This is the same McGeady who was booed out of the Celtic Park while representing Ireland against Scotland not so long ago. While you can certainly differentiate between Celtic fans and Scotland fans, the point remains that this game has far too many red flags to have been green-lighted.
While we’re on this topic – why not play Scotland? If you’re a Scotland international that played alongside Scott Brown, surely, you’d want to play with and against him for a celebration of his career?
However, we return to politics. Would Scotland, and its political divisions, unify to honour one of its internationals? You’d like to think so.
It’s maybe a condemnation that Ireland would be a more suitable (at least in someone’s eyes) opposition for a testimonial of a Scottish international.
What should be a great day for Scott Brown, his family, Celtic and his friends will instead be a playground for PR, an example of nonsensical political ties and an international team who should be in the middle of their own training camp instead of jogging around, half-paced.
Sure, we’ll have the second leg in Dublin altogether, will we?
NOTE: This article was published – and, therefore, written – before the announcement that part of the proceeds would be going towards Liam Miller’s family was made by Celtic or the FAI. The premise of the article was to question the choice of Celtic’s opponents, not the charity element. We wish Scott Brown the very best in his testimonial and hope he raises a lot of money for the charities associated.