EVERY Tuesday, when he was 12, Scott Brown would be driven from Hill of Beath in Fife to Glasgow to train with Rangers.

This lasted for a year, he also played with Falkirk, but the Ibrox club felt the-then striker was too small and didn’t offer him an S Form. Presumably those who made the decision were unaware that most people keep growing for another six or seven years.

Everyone in his home village wanted the local lad to join Rangers and – whisper this – so did young master Brown who it is said preferred the team at Ibrox to Hibernian, the club he claimed to support as a kid and who he joined soon after his rejection from Ibrox.

Life really is a funny old thing.

Some 22 years later, Brown is a Celtic legend, well on his to becoming his club’s most decorated player, the one player, even at 34, Neil Lennon could not do without.


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On Wednesday against FK Sarajevo, the Celtic captain didn’t put a foot wrong much to the delight but not the surprise of his manager and biggest fan.

It perhaps wasn’t his dream to play for Celtic but Scott Brown’s name will live forever in Celtic history and with two years left on his contract, he isn’t finished. Not by some way.

Never one to carry weight, he looks actually to have slimmed down, and is sharper and quicker than before. And as he’s the world’s most enthusiastic man, the skipper’s hunger for winning and playing has not diminished.

Lennon said: “Scott is outstanding. He was outstanding in both legs against Sarajevo and he played brilliantly on Wednesday. If he was out of the team for any concerted period of time it would be a serious concern for me, let's put it that way.

“He is fit as a fiddle. He still covers the ground and reads the game brilliantly. I thought his play was very good. He is a safety valve for us. If he is on the ball, there is a calmness there. He also sees the danger on counter-attacks too. He had a great game in midweek and I don’t take that for granted.

“I look at Scott in training and with any of the fitness work he is at the front. He sets the tempo in training and he’s the influence on the dressing-room. He is at the forefront and take on that responsibility. Sometimes that can be wearing, to be the leader all the time.

“He has a really good sidekick now in Callum McGregor, they are a great combination and there is a good understanding between them.”

There are similarities between Lennon and Brown in terms of what they were/are to Celtic on the pitch.


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Captain, deep lying midfielder, angry, consistent, a winner and the ability to annoy people just by blinking.

“I wouldn’t have had Broony’s legs,” admitted Lennon. “I’m cleverer obviously, but he covers the ground. Even at the end of the game on Wednesday he was striding forward. he has that unbelievable stride still where he eats up the ground. At 34 there is just no sign of him slowing down just yet.

“I know it’s early days in terms of the season and he had a couple of injuries last season but his athleticism and his fitness levels are still remarkably high for a player of his age.

“Then again he is a bit different to everybody else. He is just a natural. Any running or fitness sessions we do he is till at the front. He has incredible cardiovascular capacity.’

“Like everyone, you mature, and you evolve your game. I still think he could play attacking midfield if he wanted to. I have better ones to do that now but the way he sees the dangers and prompts attacks and switches play... he breaks people’s hearts at times too, he is so good. Those types of layers are gold dust to any manager.”

But the big question is, could he have played in the great Martin O’Neill side which boasted a certain Northern Irishman at its heart. Over to Lennon.

“Oh yeah. And he has the character. I think he is one of the most influential players at Celtic over the last 20 years. He would be in the top three or four comfortably.


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“I had not one shred of doubt about him as I came back in. I was so glad he had signed a new contract because I know what it’s like when you are debating what you might do at that stage of your career.

“You might be thinking of a new challenge and it can eat away at you subconsciously. He just wasn’t on it but as soon as he signed it was if the light came back on and he was back to his best again.

“And when I came in he was outstanding during the run-in. He looks fresh. Obviously, we want him out there but we will try and use the squad a little bit more. He is a big game player still.”

The offer of a life in Australia was there in January, the chance for Brown to end his career in the sun and away from the madness of Scottish football.

“He would probably have regretted it as soon as he set foot on the tarmac at Sydney airport,” said Brown. “Now he is here he has just won another Treble and is still leading her team from the front.

“I don’t think you ever lose the kind of edge he has. On and off the field he is such an influence and a good influence too.”