Pundit Neil McCann has hailed the improvement in Celtic captain Scott Brown’s performance at Ibrox today compared to his last two visits to Ibrox, speaking to BBC Scotland (live match page 01/09, 14:59).
Brown was one of our most criticised performers in the wake of defeats in December and May last season.
He was out fought and out smarted in the midfield on both occasions, with some beginning to wonder whether it could be the beginning of the end for him at Celtic.
Going by today’s display though, those criticisms look well premature.
McCann believes he had a massive say in the outcome of the game.
As quoted by BBC Scotland (live match page 01/09, 14:59), the former Rangers man said: “Scott Brown was far too quiet in the last two defeats at Ibrox. He was smothered by Scott Arfield in particular, who did a really good job on him.
“I felt he could be key today because he had to influence as captain of this team. I looked around that Celtic team and didn’t see any other natural leaders. When he doesn’t do that Celtic suffer.
“Today he got himself going and he had a huge influence.”
Proving the doubters wrong again
This isn’t the first time Scott Brown has made something of a ‘comeback’ from poor performances and proclamations his time at the Hoops is coming to an end.
His performance against Cluj left a bitter taste in the mouth of many fans, with pundits like Chris Sutton also questioning his future in the Celtic team.
The criticism was deserved, but Brown has shown since he can take that criticism and use it as motivation when he is needed most.
His leadership on the park today at Ibrox was outstanding. Constantly communicating with others in the team, he was the kind of figurehead we needed to help some derby debutantes through the match.
Over the course of the season he perhaps still needs rotated out of the team more, so he is fresh for our toughest fixtures, but today has shown he has plenty more to give Neil Lennon’s team.