Burton O'Brien

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Burton O'Brien
Personal information
Full name Burton O'Brien
Date of birth (1981-06-10) 10 June 1981 (age 33)
Place of birth Johannesburg, South Africa
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Playing position Central Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Number 8
Youth career
West Park United
1997–1998 St Mirren
1999–2002 Blackburn Rovers
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1998–1999 St. Mirren 16 (0)
1999–2002 Blackburn Rovers 0 (0)
1999 St. Mirren (loan) 10 (1)
2002–2005 Livingston 88 (15)
2005–2008 Sheffield Wednesday 99 (6)
2008–2011 Falkirk 90 (1)
2012– Livingston 53 (0)
National team
1999–2002 Scotland U21[1] 5 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 24 June 2014.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 5 May 2013

Burton O'Brien (born 10 June 1981) is a South African professional footballer, who currently plays as a central midfielder for Livingston in the Scottish Championship.

Club career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, O’Brien started his career at Scottish club St Mirren, where he progressed through the youth ranks, before making his debut as a 16 year old during season 1997–98. After only just reaching double figures in appearances for the first-team, he was sold to Blackburn Rovers for a fee of around £300,000 in 1999. O’Brien moved back on loan for the rest of the season, and scored his first and only goal for St Mirren with a free kick against Hamilton Academical.[2] He made only 1 first-team appearance for Blackburn Rovers during his time at Ewood Park in an English League Cup match against Portsmouth before leaving the club for Livingston in 2002.[3] O’Brien blamed his lack of first-team action on a clause in his contract, saying that a league appearance would mean Blackburn had to pay St Mirren an extra £300,000.[4]


In September 2002, O’Brien moved back to Scotland after Scottish Premier League side Livingston agreed a deal to sign him and his team mate David McNamee from Blackburn Rovers.[5] In 2004 he helped Livingston to their first major national honour by becoming an integral part of the Scottish League Cup winning side on 14 March 2004.[6] O’Brien’s excellent form for Livingston saw him attract interest from other clubs such as Aberdeen, Hearts and clubs south of the border.[7] In total he made 119 league appearances for Livingston in all competitions and scored 16 goals.[8]

Sheffield Wednesday[edit]

On 14 July 2005, O’Brien signed for English Championship side Sheffield Wednesday on a three-year contract after the midfielder rejected a new contract offer from Livingston.[8] He scored his first goal for the club on 18 March 2006 in a 2–0 home win against Preston North End. He featured strongly in his first season at the club making 47 appearances in all competitions, but played less the following season after manager Paul Sturrock left, making only 22 appearances. He made 35 appearances in season 2007–08, but he was released at the end of the season after the expiry of his three-year contract.[9]


O’Brien returned to Scotland once more by signing for Falkirk.[10] He scored his first and what turned out to be only Falkirk goal in a 4–1 win over Hamilton on 27 September 2008.[11] He spent three seasons at Falkirk before being released in 2011.

Return to Livingston[edit]

After a one-year absence from the game, O’Brien spent a trial period with Airdrie in August 2012. Despite the North Lanarkshire club keen to secure his services,[12] O’Brien moved on and returned to his former club Livingston. Initially, O’Brien played as a trialist in the club's reserve matches to regain his fitness[13] before signing a short-term contract on 22 November 2012.[14] He made his second debut for Livingston on 17 November 2012 in a 2–1 home win over his former club Falkirk.[15] After the expiry of his contract at the end of December 2012, he signed on again until the end of the season.[16] A stand out performer for the club during his first season back, he was voted Livingston’s 2012–13 Player’s Player of the year. On 4 June 2013, O’Brien signed a new two-year contract with the club, keeping him at Almondvale until the summer of 2015.[17]

International career[edit]

O'Brien was capped at under-21 level for Scotland. His application to switch nationalities in order to represent South Africa was rejected by FIFA in 2005, as he was too old to apply.[18]




  1. ^ "Burton O'Brien". www.fitbastats.com. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "Burton O'Brien career". St Mirren Mad. 4 June 2004. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  3. ^ "Portsmouth 1-1 Blackburn (Agg: 1-5)". BBC. 26 September 2000. Retrieved 7 April 2013. 
  4. ^ "Rovers flog kids". Blackburn Rovers Mad. 6 September 2002. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "Leish challenges four signings". BBC Sport. 3 September 2002. Retrieved 1 July 2008. 
  6. ^ "Livingston lift CIS Cup". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 14 March 2004. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  7. ^ "Aberdeen keen on O'Brien signing". BBC Sport. 26 January 2005. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "Wednesday wrap up O'Brien signing". BBC Sport. 14 July 2005. Retrieved 1 July 2008. 
  9. ^ "Wednesday release seven players". BBC Sport. 14 May 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2008. 
  10. ^ "O'Brien back up north with Bairns". BBC Sport. 30 June 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2008. 
  11. ^ "Falkirk 4-1 Hamilton Academical". BBC. 27 September 2008. Retrieved 7 April 2013. 
  12. ^ "Airdrie look at O'Brien". Scottish Football League. 24 August 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  13. ^ "Reserves lose out to experienced diamonds side". Livingston F.C. 4 October 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  14. ^ "O'Brien back for second term". Livingston FC. 16 November 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2013. 
  15. ^ "Livingston 2-1 Falkirk match report". BBC Sport. 17 November 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  16. ^ "Extended deal for Burton". Livingston F.C. 1 January 2013. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  17. ^ "New two-year contract for Burton". Livingston F.C. 4 June 2013. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  18. ^ "SA continue bid for O'Brien". BBC Sport. 7 April 2005. Retrieved 1 July 2008. 

External links[edit]