HE may be bidding to pick up the 20th winner’s medal of his long and trophy-laden career in the William Hill Scottish Cup final this afternoon and help Celtic complete what would be their third consecutive domestic treble in the process, but Scott Brown’s desire remains undiminished.

That a player who turns 34 next month is still as determined to triumph as he was when he first stepped out on the hallowed turf at Hampden on such an occasion some 15 years ago, more about which later, says much about why both he and his side have enjoyed unprecedented success in the past few years.

It would be quite understandable if the Parkhead skipper and his team mates had grown blasé about their dominance of the game in this country, become complacent against lesser opposition and slipped up in a one-off game.

But having an onfield leader with such drive has ensured Celtic have been untouchable in the league or the cup competitions they have been involved in since 2016 and should prevail once again, and what is more do so comfortably, against their capital rivals Hearts today.

Brown emphasised that he has not become indifferent about their stranglehold on silverware and is still as eager to emerge victorious from their latest encounter as at any stage previously in his playing days.

“There is no such thing as just another treble,” he said. “What the lads have done over the last two seasons is incredible. To do it again would be phenomenal.

“Every treble has meant a lot. The first one, to be unbeaten for the season, was amazing. Nobody then expected us to do it again. We now have the chance to make it three out of three and make history. We need to make sure we get over the line.”

Brown forged a close bond with Brendan Rodgers during the Northern Irishman’s time in charge of Celtic that endures to this day even though his former mentor has, with the vitriol of the supporters ringing in his ears, departed for Leicester City.

He attributes the run the team is on to the change in outlook his old coach was responsible for and expressed confidence that they can extend it under his replacement Neil Lennon.

“When Brendan came, the mindset changed,” he said. “He put faith in us and believed that we could play our style here. It was more about the way we played and set up, instead of just turning up and hoping for the best. Neil is the same and can also do the motivating like Brendan. We need to turn up, play our game, dominate and take control.

“We always come to Hampden thinking we will win a trophy. You need to be positive. You can’t think: ‘Today’s not for us’. That can put doubt in people’s heads. We will come with a smile on our face like we have for two years.”

Brown can still vividly remember the pain that he felt when the Hibernian side he was a member of suffered a shock 2-0 defeat at the hands of Livingston in the League Cup final back in 2004. He admitted is always keen to avoid a repeat of that experience.

“We had about 40,000 fans and Livi had about 450,” he said. I remember the supporters just started to leave. It seemed like a very bad place to be. It was horrible. We’d put out the big two (Celtic and Rangers) and people automatically thought we’d win, but we didn’t take chances. I know the feeling of being beaten in a cup final and it’s not a nice place to be. Luckily for us, we bounced back and won the final against Killie a few years later.”

Hearts have beaten Celtic twice at Tynecastle in the past two seasons and will be looking to pull off another upset at Hampden today. Brown, though, feels the venue will suit his side and aimed a thinly-veiled dig at the Edinburgh club over the length of the grass on their playing surface in those previous losses.

“We believe we can win games at Hampden,” he said. “The pitch is big and looks fantastic. I’ve been out there and it’s always good when it looks like it should - and not a rugby field. It’s harder for everyone to play their normal game because the pitch is as big as it can be. For everyone on the park, it’s harder to close people down and put pressure on people.”

Brown has taken great pleasure in proving the doubters who have repeatedly dismissed him as a spent force incapable of playing at the highest level wrong. He has enjoyed seeing teenagers like Karamoko Dembele, Ewan Henderson and Mikey Johnston come into the team this season and acquit themselves well. He reckons they help him to remain fit and sharp.

“You can write me off every season,” he said. “I’ll keep coming back as many times as I can, although one day they will be right. I still have the energy to keep going and the lads keep pushing me. One day I will fall off a cliff but right now, I feel good and I want them to keep pushing.

“You need to enjoy finals. I play with more of a smile on my face now than I ever have done. I enjoy football, the way we play and our style suits me. I have support all around me and we are a very tight bunch, who do a lot together on and off the park.”

Scott Brown is self-deprecating when it comes to talking about himself. He baulks at comparisons with all-time Celtic greats such as Billy McNeill and Paul McStay. He describes himself as “a daft wee guy from Fife”. While he can certainly be a madcap presence in the dressing room, on the training ground and even, at times, on the field of play, his legendary status is beyond question.

“I keep all my medals. They all mean a lot to me. I don’t go about bragging and saying ‘look what I’ve won’. It’s just memories of positive, happy times for me.”