There may have been some, but there can’t have been too many Celtic supporters who shared the same level of confidence that Scott Brown did as the clock ticked into the dying minutes of the Scottish Cup final on Saturday.

The champions had largely been on the back foot during the second half at Hampden, with their main players looking leggy after a long, arduous season, and Rangers seeming to have an extra bounce in their step.

Brown though, who had a ringside seat as he performed punditry duties, was the most relaxed Celtic supporter in the national stadium. Why?

“Callum, James, Brendan,” Brown said simply.

With that trio on hand – Brown’s successor as captain, Callum McGregor, the revitalised James Forrest and manager Brendan Rodgers - to guide the rest of the Celtic team with their vast experience of such situations, and of coming out on top of them, Brown was certain that there was only going to be one outcome.

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It may have been Paulo Bernardo’s fresh legs that burst from midfield and got the shot away that proved too hot for Rangers keeper Jack Butland to handle, and it may have been Adam Idah that barrelled in to finish it off, but in Brown’s mind, there is no doubt that it is his old teammates and manager who are the difference between the Glasgow teams at present.

“They know how to win, they know how to win trophies,” he said.

“Rangers step up on those big occasions and they can’t finish it off.

“For me, Callum, James and Brendan, they always get over the line. It’s just that winning mentality, and that is the difference between the two clubs.”

The way that the match at the weekend played out seemed to encapsulate the season in many ways, with Rangers providing a stiff test to Celtic at times, but being unable to reach out and grab the prize when the opportunity presented itself.

“That’s football, you’re never going to get it all your own way,” Brown said.

“You’ve always got to have that belief, and when you’ve got a manager that is calm and collected and is not erratic on the bench or in the press or to the players, then it brings calmness to the whole squad. That’s what you want in a top football club like this.

“I never had any doubts, I told you all at the start of the season and I’m sure a couple of other people dived in and said it was never going to happen. Yet again, I was right.

“It was brilliant, I’m delighted for the lads to continue winning games and continue winning trebles and doubles, it’s brilliant because Celtic fans expect it.

“At the same time the lads worked so hard, and it is probably their 55th or 56th game of the season or whatever it is, so for the lads to continue…they looked a little bit tired at the end, but they still grafted away and worked hard.

“You can see what it meant to all the fans and the players as well.”

The question is, and it is one that exasperated Rangers fans must have been asking themselves for some time now, is just how long this period of domestic dominance for Celtic can last.

Access to the bounty that comes with participation in the expanded Champions League after winning this season’s Premiership may be one reason why it endures further still, but in Brown’s mind, it is also because the likes of Celtic captain McGregor still have plenty of miles – and medals – left in the tank.

“He’s going to have a lot more, don’t worry about that,” he said.

“He’s going to have a lot more, I’ve got belief in that. Same with James as well, he’ll keep continuing and keep going. I don’t know how many they have got, and how many James has got, but they will keep going and keep going.

“Even for Joe (Hart) to come in and win trebles and win doubles, it’s been an exciting part of his career as well to come up at his age.

“I speak to all the lads and there is not one person who says a bad word about him. He’s a very humble person.

“He could have come up to Celtic and shown he was a big-time player, but he has been in that dressing room day-in, day-out, working hard.

“We had the young lad Josh (Clarke) on loan from Celtic as well, and Josh couldn’t speak highly enough of him either.”

That Celtic connection is benefitting Brown in his new role as manager of Ayr United, not only giving him access to promising young talent like Clarke, but helping to swell the Honest Men’s coffers, as Rodgers has agreed to bring his team to Somerset Park for the first time in 25 years on July 5th.

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The friendly will mark the opening of United’s new stand, and Brown is thankful to his old manager not only for the gesture, but for affording his players the opportunity to measure themselves against the best the country has to offer.

“It’s brilliant, what Brendan and the club have done to come along and help us out in that way, and even to help with Josh, that’s been exceptional,” he said.

“It will also give us a level to show the lads what it is to be champions, what it is to be mentally strong as well.

“It might not be the starting XI from the cup final that plays because a lot of them will still be at the Euros and stuff, but it will still be a strong Celtic team and I’ll be looking forward to it.”