Celtic announced the signing of 20-year-old attacking midfielder Liam Burt yesterday evening on a two-year deal with the club.
CelticFC.net confirmed that the free agent, who was previously with Rangers, will initially be part of Tommy McIntyre’s reserve team squad.
Burt has not taken long to make his mark for Celtic’s reserve side, scoring the winning penalty in their Challenge Cup shoot-out win over Queen’s Park last night.
Burt may be an ex-Rangers player but it’s worth noting that Celtic was his first club at youth level, having made the switch to their Glasgow rivals upon being released by the Hoops in 2015.
Burt is an adaptable attacking midfield player who is equally comfortable playing through the middle as he is on either flank.
A scout report on Soccersouls described him as a “technically gifted” player who is “brilliant with the ball at his feet“, adding that he is “very much capable of taking on defenders with his excellent control of the ball.”
His pathway to the Celtic first-team appears a lengthy one at this moment, however. Neil Lennon already has Tom Rogic, Callum McGregor and Ryan Christie as attacking midfield options, while James Forrest has made the right-sided role his own given his 18 goals last season and status as PFA Scotland Player of the Year.
On the left-hand side, Scott Sinclair and Mikey Johnston are standing in Burt’s way. However, the ex-Rangers man could take inspiration from Johnston, who impressed sufficiently for Celtic’s youth sides to earn his place in the first-team squad, for whom he has since made 31 appearances.
For an attacking midfielder, Burt’s scoring record ought to be better. A return of just one goal and one assist from 29 appearances with second-tier Dumbarton and Alloa does not suggest that he would be prolific at Premiership level.
Time is still very much on his side to improve, however, and Burt now has a golden opportunity to show Rangers that they were wrong to let him go. The likes of Johnston and Kieran Tierney have shown that players can emerge from the youth and reserve ranks at Celtic to make a name for themselves at first-team level, so Burt just needs to prove his worth for McIntyre’s squad for now.
If he can manage that, Lennon may give him some introductory first-team minutes later in the season and then perhaps elevate him into the first team squad altogether.
Celtic fans, what do you think of ex-Rangers man Burt returning to the Hoops? Can he make the grade for Celtic? Comment below with your views!
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