Scott Brown: Bigger than Roy Aitken? Aberdeen move more 'meh' than memorable

On the day last March when Stephen Glass was unveiled as new manager of Aberdeen, conversation turned to the subject of what Scott Brown could bring to the club.

Glass was asked to consider what impact the soon to arrive player-coach – then playing out the season at Celtic - might have.

“Bigger than Roy Aitken?” someone suggested.

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“In my opinion, bigger,” replied Glass. Few felt compelled to disagree at the time. Albeit he was the last but one manager to bring a cup to Aberdeen and remains the last but one manager to bring a cup back to Aberdeen, Aitken seemed a fairly low bar.

The former Celtic skipper played 27 times for the club before stepping up from assistant manager to replace Willie Miller in 1995. That is a promotion Brown may have wished might happen in time at Pittodrie. It was not to be.

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He leaves after only 33 appearances and having scored the same number of goals as Aitken – two. One of them, admittedly, was a bullet header against Rangers at Ibrox. There’s also a showreel of Brown baiting Rangers players at Pittodrie a few weeks ago. He hasn’t quite been able to step out of his Celtic persona in the way Aitken managed.

The Glass experiment has been over for a few weeks. Brown, the signing that provided the ‘ooft’ quality in an ambitious project, has been playing out his own finale ever since.

Scott Brown took a player-coach role at Pittodrie with former team-mate Stephen Glass. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

His head didn’t seem to be in it anymore. That’s understandable given his close ties to Glass. Jim Goodwin, Glass’s replacement, did not dance around the issue. He hoped Brown would stay on because he liked him as a player, but as for coaching, he might be set for some disappointment. Goodwin explained that he was a hands-on manager and already had an assistant in Lee Sharp. Brown’s input would be limited.

It seems notable that the statement released by Aberdeen to confirm Brown’s departure amid much speculation did not specifically mention he was hanging up his boots.

Being subbed off with 15 minutes to go of a 2-0 defeat against Hearts at Tynecastle last midweek is not how Brown will want to bring down the curtain on such a distinguished career. His playing days may yet resume elsewhere. This might be what makes him attractive to clubs, particularly in the lower tiers. That’s if he can face dropping down levels.

As much as his Aberdeen chapter can in no way be regarded as a success, Brown was far from the struggling team’s worst performer. He even filled in at centre-back with some aplomb when required. He added six more European appearances to his total. It hasn’t been a waste of time for him, far from it.

Former Aberdeen player and manager Roy Aitken.
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But it’s not what he hoped it might be. It’s not the conclusion to the storied playing career he desired - or indeed deserved

There were some highlights, including hearing Aberdeen fans singing “Broonie, Broonie” on his debut against BK Hacken in July. He turned round some initial scepticism with his commitment, which should have been taken as read with him.

He leaves an Aberdeen team who are a couple of bad results away from being involved in a relegation battle. It might reach a point where fans really will have reason to mourn his absence. As it is, it’s more a case of ‘meh’.

Scott Brown has left Aberdeen after nine months in the Granite City. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

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