Reality check vs Salzburg highlights Scott Brown's importance
Celtic were totally outclassed by a superb Red Bull Salzburg side. However, one thing shone through – their captain’s importance in big games.
Brown did not start in the crunch Europa League tie at Celtic Park, and it showed early on.
Celtic’s midfield three were completely dominated from the first whistle. Tom Rogic had one of his worst games in a Celtic jersey.
Ryan Christie and Callum McGregor didn’t fare much better either. All three were overrun in midfield against a classy Salzburg outfit.
However, Celtic were not punished for their poor performance, ultimately going through after a huge favour from Rosenborg.
Although they achieved the pre-match objective of qualification, they must learn from a disappointing 90 minutes.
Brown was a huge loss to the side in the first half. He was a half-time substitute and immediately shored up things in midfield.
Even though Salzburg went on to score twice in the second half, Celtic competed in midfield more with Brown on the field.
With Christie being stretchered off in the second half with a serious looking injury, it looks like Brown will be reinstated into the team anyway.
However, the first half against Salzburg showed that Brown’s return to the starting 11 was needing to happen regardless.
Hopefully Christie isn’t out for too long, as he’s been Celtic’s best player for the last two months. It did look serious however, as he needed a leg brace to be applied as he was stretchered off.
Rolling their sleeves up
Celtic now face a busy few weeks before the winter break at the new year.
Their captain’s importance to the team will be highlighted again throughout this period.
Up next for Celtic is a tough trip to the capital to face Hibs. Although they’ve been struggling recently, Neil Lennon will have his side right up for the visit of the champions.
The biggie though is Celtic’s trip to Ibrox on the 29th. With Rangers toiling and out of Europe, Celtic can really kick on and damage their main rivals further.
And with Scott Brown set to get a run of games in before the derby, Celtic’s captain will be primed and ready for the showdown in Govan.