Stephen Welsh fears 'massive' loss at Celtic - 'I don't know what he's going to do'

It can appear easier to count those likely still to be around at Celtic Park next season than the number expected to disappear.

Stephen Welsh with Scott Brown, whom the young defender is desperate to see stay next season because of the help he gives "every single player" in the Celtic team. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

A handover at the top will see Peter Lawwell succeeded by chief executive Dominic McKay. Neil Lennon’s parting with the club last week that resulted in his assistant John Kennedy becoming interim is sure to be the precursor for the recruitment of a new football management team. That could see the end for the current backroom team, at the same time as at least seven of the current first-team squad are expected to exit.

No-one is sure if captain Scott Brown belongs in the going or staying list. This includes the man himself, the 35-year-old unsure if his desire to play as long as he can be reconciled with a major team overhaul under Lennon’s permanent successor. Never mind that summer free-agent Brown has already been offered a year’s contract extension by Lawwell.

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The commanding display of Celtic’s elder statesman in the 1-0 victory over Aberdeen, which allowed Kennedy to make the desired start to his stint in charge, served notice an iconic figure who has claimed 22 winners’ medals across his 14 seasons at the club intends to make the next few months count. Even if only for the sake of personal pride, Rangers’ having breezed the title to humble a Parkhead side seeking a record 10th championship.

To Stephen Welsh the 21-year-old centre-back who has made a place at the heart of the club’s defence since the turn of the year, Brown’s influence remains so absolute on the pitch and in the dressing room that a void would be created were he to cut his ties. “Broony is massive for us. Massive,” said Welsh. “He's our leader and we would miss him a lot if he wasn't there next season. We need to take every day as it comes. I don't know what he's going to do. Personally I would love him to be here as long as possible because he helps me so much. He helps every single player in the team as captain and when he's on the pitch he is brilliant for us. We will see what happens but Broony is such an important player for us.

"Everybody sees what he does on the park but off the park he is just as big. When it comes to the atmosphere in the changing room and bringing everyone together, Broony is at the centre of it. He gets us going, he leads us on the park, he's always talking to you and he is also a quality player. You can't discount how good a player he still is and he has been such a big help to me over the last few years.

“His intensity in every single training session never drops for a second. Every single day, even if it's a rest day, he is doing everything he can to prepare in the right way. If you look at our training sessions, his stats are still up there as the highest in terms of runs. Broony is always at the top and one of the fittest players in the team. He has been brilliant for Celtic for so many years and it goes without saying that we all want him to stay.”

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