James Brown will have friends watching in the crowd and family back home viewing intently on TV.

Not all of them will be wishing him success, though.

Brown never grew up a Celtic fan - favouring Manchester United in his youth - but was surrounded by them back home in Dublin.

It would be easy to get carried away with today's season-opening occasion, even though a good few of his pals will be up in the stands cheering on the hosts.

But the 25-year-old, who gained valuable game-time at Stockport and Doncaster Rovers last season, fully intends to shut out the surroundings and focus on his job.

For all the hype and fuss surrounding the ex-Blackburn Rovers and Drogheda defender’s first bow at Celtic Park, he knows his own focus must remain firmly fixed to the pitch.

Brown, who netted his first County goal in a strong display in the League Cup against Edinburgh City last weekend, said: “It’s all well and good getting hyped up but when the whistle goes you are in a game and you have to focus.

“We have spoken about that and while we know it’s going to be a big occasion, we just have to focus on what our job is.

“I can’t wait. We just have to take it as any other game, really, as we can’t let the occasion get to us.

“I have so many friends coming over, but I don’t think they will be supporting me!

“They will be supporting Celtic. I also have friends watching it back home, who are big Celtic fans.

“The bottom line is these are the games you want to play in. It was a big part of what the manager said to me before I came, flagging up the occasions I would be involved in against Celtic, Rangers and others.

“They are the games you want to play in – any footballer wants to play as high as possible in front of the biggest crowds.

“We are all looking forward to it and we will be up for it.

“Is it a good time to get them? You could look at it in so many ways. You can look at it as getting it out the way early, but you want to play in big games – and it’s their flag day as well.

“If you were going to pick a team to play in the first game of the season, I think it would be Celtic.

“There are a lot of lads trying to impress the manager and we want to get off to a good start.

“We will try and do our best to get a result.”

Brown seems to be settling in seamlessly to his new surroundings in the Highlands, but admits he almost baulked at a move away from his favoured big city haunts.

He said: “I have been up here a couple of weeks and settled in quick enough with the lads and the staff.

“They are really nice people, and it’s a close-knit group because we are so far up here.

“Most of the new lads have settled in well.

“I had a look at the club and the area, and if I’m honest I wasn’t really keen on it because I’m used to city life in Dublin and Manchester.

“It was a bit of a worry, but the lads are a great group. Because there is not a whole lot to do we will meet up and have a coffee after training, with a good six or seven of us there.

“There are a lot of golf courses around here so I’m getting around them.

“I’m actually enjoying it so far."

In the end, the chance of a crack at a top league - and occasions like today’s - were too much of a lure, as was manager Mackay’s status.

Brown added: “The manager was one of the things that stood out to me. He’s a big name.

“When you look at his status as a manager, he has been there and done it and managed in the Premier League.

“I have one or two mates that play in the league, and they have said it’s a great league.

“There are good games and good atmospheres.

“In the league itself, there are massive games against Celtic, Rangers, Hearts and Hibs. There are games on television as well.

“It was about playing football as well, so hopefully I can play as many games as possible.

“The focus now is on Celtic and I have witnessed that in the last few weeks. It’s just game-by-game.”