THE question I get asked a lot at the moment is whether or not Celtic offered Scott Brown a good enough deal to stay at the club. But the contract being offered to Scott by Celtic was never going have any bearing on what he was going to do anyway.

I liken his situation to when I was at Leeds. We went from what is now the Championship and won the Premier League. We went again to a certain extent, but then there’s a point in one game in particular I can remember thinking; ‘Am I an influence on this team anymore?’

I then asked myself if I had the same sort of drive? Am I getting the same response from the people round about me? And if I’m not, then can I really go again next season having put as much as I possibly could into Leeds during that journey from the Championship to Europe?

The answer was no. I felt like it wasn’t for me anymore. The group of players that I had started off in that challenge with was changing, and I felt like I wasn’t getting through to the ones who arrived. That worried me.

I also worried in terms of where the club was going, and how big a job it was going to be to take us back to the top again. Did I want to do that again, sacrifice everything again to strive for that? The answer for me was no.

I went in and spoke to Howard Wilkinson, and we looked at each other over a table and I told it wasn’t for me anymore. He said; ‘Yeah, we can see that, but it’s very hard for me to tell you that.’ So, we both knew we had to do something different.

I had an offer to stay on and coach and play with the reserves, and for the five months that I did it, I felt like I was an influence again. I was enjoying it again, I was loving what I was doing. I was seeing people progressing again. It was the same sort of feelings that I had when I was watching Scott starting on his journey at Celtic 14 years ago.

Then I got asked to move to Coventry as assistant manager, so that was me finished with football, and I was sad about that of course. But the wages on offer were unbelievable, and I had to look after my family.

That isn’t what is happening with Scott, because the wages he’ll be on at Aberdeen won’t be the same as what he was getting at Celtic, that’s for sure.

But the big similarity between our situations is that he will enjoy being an influence again, as I did at Coventry. I actually started playing again, but that was because my influence was there again.

I think that is what Scott wants. That real challenge and that influence again. And that’s only right.

Everybody knows that Celtic have to start afresh with a new era. It would be totally unfair for anyone to ask Scott Brown to lead that again. I think it would be impossible for him to lead that again having committed so much of his football life into making Celtic that force they have been over the nine years.

So, for Scott, it would have nothing to do with a contract. It would be about being an influence, enjoying himself, and seeing a project that he can help again.

There’s nothing worse than when you think you’re still good enough to play, and you’re sitting on the bench. He would be trying his best to help people, but there would be a sadness that he wasn’t out there playing.

There would be a lot of things that conspired together for Scott to come to this decision, and I think it was the right decision for him, and I also think it was the right decision for Celtic. You cannot be asking the same person to do that all over again.

Imagine spending 10 years having to listen to; ‘Come on Scott, can you get us going?’ There has to be a point where you turn around and say; ‘Can you not get yourself going? I’m trying my best, but really?’

That’s what has happened this year. Scott hasn’t been playing sometimes and hasn’t been at his best at others. Callum McGregor has sometimes not been at his best. Mikael Lustig had gone and so had Craig Gordon, good solid people.

The question has been ‘Can you get us going?’, and the answer has come back negative, because a lot of people just couldn’t get going.

Scott will have an added energy with this new challenge. It’s a good move for everybody. Celtic have to re-energise themselves without Scott Brown, and Scott Brown has to re-energise himself without Celtic.

There are a lot of Aberdeen players who will be looking forward to his influence rubbing off on them, and I think he will enjoy that too.

I remember the joy I got from working with those young guys in the reserves at Coventry. I berated them, and I scolded them, and I hugged them, and it was great. And I think that Scott will love that too.

I know fine well he is looking forward to the challenge. You have to say, he has exhausted every piece of energy he had for Celtic, that’s for sure, and it must be a great thing to leave a club and think; ‘I couldn’t have done any more’. Scott would never say that, but that is what he has done and that is how he should feel in a couple of years’ time when he looks back at it.

He isn’t going to get the send-off he perhaps deserves at Celtic, but I don’t think that will bother him too much. If you know him, it’s all about competing, and driving on.

He won’t realise it, but for the rest of his life now, wherever he goes in the world, trust me, he’s going to get a tap on the shoulder and a thank you from someone. On days when you are not at your best and someone says; ‘Well done Gordon, thanks for that’, it just kicks you on and you feel a bit better.

I always kid him on that I tried to get Kevin Thomson first before I signed him. I remember when we signed Derek Riordan too, Gary Caldwell said that was a good move, but we had missed out on a real cracker in Brown. Aye, thanks for the tip Gaz.

I can assure Celtic fans that he will be fully committed to the last, because in one of his final games for Hibs he stood up to Neil Lennon and they clashed. The funny thing about it was that Lennon came in and said; ‘He’s got something about him that boy!’

The real tester for me is whether he will wear his T-shirts to training in Aberdeen or not. I want to see in January if he is still standing there with his arms out, because we used to have old Fisherman’s jerseys on back in the old days trying to keep warm. That will be a real test of his mental strength.

People ask me if he was my best ever signing, but that would be unfair to say. Did I enjoy watching his progress? Of course I did. Did I enjoy seeing him become the character he is? Yes. Do I enjoy speaking to him now? Yes I do.

And am I excited to see how he becomes a success at Aberdeen in his next chapter? Of course I am.