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I kept it quiet- former Celtic midfielder explains his Ibrox escape

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Liam Burt has given the lowdown on how he managed to get out of Ibrox and sign for Celtic without any compensation fee being played.

The midfielder made his first team debut as a 17-year-old when Mark Warburton was in charge but as his progress stalled he went out on loan to Dumbarton and Alloa.

Football fortunes can change quickly with Burt realising that his prospects of top team football at Ibrox were looking bleak.

As a Scotland internationalist at u-17 and u-19 level he wouldn’t be short of other options but no-one at Ibrox was expecting him to make the move directly to Celtic.

Burt knew that it would be a difficult situation to manage and told Football Scotland the timeline for his switch in the summer of 2019.

It was around March that I had a conversation with Rangers and Craig Mulholland and I was hinting that I wasn’t really enjoying my football. I had just come back from an injury, I went out on loan to Alloa at the start of the season.

Jim Goodwin then wanted me to stay at Alloa from January for the rest of the season, but Craig never really wanted that. I ended up staying with the Rangers reserves. I knew then I wasn’t really interested in signing a year contract to be perfectly honest.

Craig and I had a conversation. He then spoke to Mark Allen and came back and told me the compensation for myself would be a bit of a problem if I was to go and play somewhere else.

I think they were owed a fair bit because I was there for a number of years. We then ended up coming to an agreement that there would be no fee. I think Craig spoke to one of the Hibs coaches and maybe he thought that Hibs would be one of the best options available for me. He was happy for me to go there for free.

My agent then got that down in writing that there would be no compensation in my contract. That then opened up a good number of doors and a couple more clubs were interested.

That’s when Celtic got in touch. I just wanted to go and enjoy my football. I knew a good few boys who were at Celtic and obviously I supported them, so it was quite an easy decision.

I knew if I went to Celtic, I would enjoy playing football and wearing the strip again. So that’s how it all came about.

As soon as they found out that I was leaving when my contract expired on June 1, Celtic contacted me in the middle of May to go and play in a game but I was just coming back from an injury and I said no at the time because I wasn’t fully fit.

I explained that it would be quite a hard conversation to have with Craig Mulholland if I was still under contract at Rangers and I was going to go and play with Celtic. Maybe if Rangers knew that, they would have put the compensation clause back in my contract. So I kept it quiet.

When my contract ended, I then signed for Celtic. I had a couple of coaches from Rangers wishing me good luck. There was no real anger. It was just the coaches wishing me all the best.

It was reported that Burt had signed a two year contract with Celtic but the second year appears to have been an option that the club didn’t take up.

With Luca Connell, Kerr McInroy and Ewan Henderson making no in-roads into Neil Lennon’s plans it always looked unlikely that another young midfielder would break through ahead of Scott Brown, Callum McGregor, Olivier Ntcham, Tom Rogic and Ryan Christie.

Burt is now playing in the League of Ireland for Bohemians where he has made 27 appearances this year.

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