SCOTT Brown, the Celtic captain, last night joined the chorus of criticism aimed at the artificial surface at Hamilton Accies' Super Seal stadium - branding it "horrible" and "one of the worst" in the country. The Parkhead side are set to take the precaution of leaving Jozo Simunovic out for fear of aggravating a nagging groin issue when they visit the Lanarkshire stadium this lunchtime and Brown is another who dreads subjecting his body to the surface. With Storm Barbara battering the country, the conditions underfoot and overhead are hardly ideal for flowing passing football but the Celtic captain know the Parkhead side must adapt quickly if they are to maintain their 14-match domestic winning run at a venue where they have drawn twice in their last four visits.

"It’s horrible," said Brown. "Horrible. Hamilton is one of the worst. I don’t mind the Kilmarnock pitch. When it’s wet, you can move the ball and pass it quite well. Then you just have to deal with the stiffness in your body and recover the next day.

"But it’s always hard going from grass to astroturf," added the Celtic captain, echoing the words of his manager Brendan Rodgers, who said on Thursday that he had never seen a good match played on synthetic grass. "You train on grass every day, you play your home games on it, then you have to go and play on that. But it is what it is, we have to deal with it, try to get the three points and do better than we have done there in the past few seasons, when we’ve struggled."

While the prospect of Hogmanay's visit to Ibrox - the first Old Firm match in Govan since April 2012 - is focusing the minds of some of the club's supporters and his team-mate Scott Sinclair, Brown reckons Hamilton deserve Celtic's undivided attention. The Parkhead side are endeavouring to protect a 21-match unbeaten domestic run as they aim for an invincible Scottish season.

"Right now?" said Brown. "I’m not too fussed [about Rangers]. Scotty needs to worry about Hamilton first, going on to the artificial turf. We’ve got two huge games first so we’ll concentrate on Rangers when we get there.

"There’s always somebody who wants to beat you, whether you’re on a three-game run or a 19-game run," he added. "But we just need to improve week in week out. The gaffer works us through different formations, different styles, where we should be. We’re all slowly getting it."

While the likely absence of Simunovic could present Kolo Toure with a chance to start in central defence, Rodgers welcomes James Forrest back after injury ahead of schedule, while Tom Rogic is also scheduled to return again in time to make himself available for the Old Firm derby on Hogmanay.

"James Forrest is back which is great news for the squad," said the Northern Irishman. "He’s back a lot quicker than we thought he would be. He’s fit, looks strong and it’s a big credit to our medical team who have worked day and night with him. It’s a relief. He’s had injury issues over a few years but he is a big player for us. He has pace, power and has a goal-threat. You can see him in training that he’s looking really good."