SCOTT Brown has revealed a “nightmare” confrontation with Neil Lennon when he first signed for Celtic provided him with all the confidence he needed to become a first-team regular at Parkhead.

Then manager Gordon Strachan recruited Brown from Hibs in the summer of 2007, just as Lennon was preparing to depart for Nottingham Forest and a crack at the English Championship.

Brown and Lennon had crossed swords on the pitch on plenty of occasions before the former completed a move to Celtic Park – with the club’s current outgoing skipper revealing that Lennon had some words of encouragement when he found himself leaving Glasgow’s east end.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Brown explained: “That day before I signed, I was sitting in the manager’s office and Gordon said, ‘Right, I need to go and do the press. There’s some food in the fridge, help yourself to a snack’. I went to go and sit down and Lenny walks in.

“This was my worst nightmare. Me and him had been fighting for the last five years and I thought we didn’t have a lot in common. He sat down and said, ‘Let’s talk’. I said okay.

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“So he started talking about his love for the club and how much it all means to him. How much Celtic, the fans, taking part of training sessions and being captain of the club means to him.

“I was sitting there thinking, ‘This guy is great! Where’s this going?’ and he kept talking me up as well. He told me I would love it at Celtic. He said: ‘This club is made for you. You’re a winner, you’re a fighter. You’ll run through walls for people’.

“At that moment I knew it was for me, even though I had offers to go to other clubs. I knew speaking to Gordon and then speaking to Neil and I knew I’d made the right decision. This what was I was all about.

“I walked outside Celtic Park and there were fans outside. They were all happy that I had signed and were chatting away and I was thinking, ‘This is incredible, there’s 60,000 people there’.

“Lenny said he was sad to leave but that one day he hoped he would be back. What do you know, nine months later Gordon brings him back in. Me and Lenny hit it off really well and we’ve continued that bond all the way through – even when he was manager the first time. He left and we kept in touch the whole time and then he came back again.

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“It was those small occasions that mean so much to myself and what he did for my football career at the start. He gave me that belief in myself and took the time to sit down and chat with me about Celtic when he didn’t have to.

“He didn’t owe me anything but he wanted to do that as a leaving Celtic captain to a young player joining the club. It shows you the effect that he had for the club and the players that were coming into the club at the same time.”