Scott Brown’s Celtic career is just about as decorated as they come. The Hoops captain has won the lot in Scotland on countless occasions, and has a CV second to nobody in the country.
Yet, after another mauling from the Hoops as they defeated Dundee 5-0 at Dens Park, did tonight prove they’re a better team against lesser sides without him?
Many supporters will jump on that theory and dismiss it. After all, he’s captained Celtic to seven consecutive titles in-a-row. As well as that, he’s been Brendan Rodgers’ midfield general.
But the way Celtic move the ball is much different to when Brown is playing, however. When in possession with their captain available, Brown often moves the ball from side to side. It generally leads to slower build-up play. The likes of Mikael Lustig often finds himself having to find passes centrally, and it can get a tad predictable.
With McGregor in there, there’s been something a lot more unique about the Hoops. They’ve moved the ball quicker and got their flair players on the ball with ease.
Tom Rogic and James Forrest have really came to the fore in recent weeks also. The pair have been expressing themselves tremendously well and are flourishing with the new, quicker passing style in recent weeks. Forrest in particular now has six goals when Brown hasn’t been on the pitch. He had failed to net in any of the previous 15 before that.
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Still a big-game player
There’s been plenty of times in recent years when Brown has been missing and it’s been noticeable. Even in Europe, if Celtic have little protection for the back four then it can easily get exploited.
But, domestically, Celtic certainly look a quicker side without Brown in there. They don’t need to have protection for the back four against most Scottish sides. That’s been proven in recent weeks with St Johnstone, Hearts, and now Dundee not laying a glove on Rodgers’ men. All these hammerings were played without the captain.
Granted, Hibs gave Celtic something to think about with two well-taken goals at Parkhead. This is an example of why Celtic need someone like Brown in there against better sides.
Domestically speaking, however, the Hoops have minimal concerns. They’ve now rattled home 18 goals in their last four domestic matches. Brown has only played around 20 minutes throughout that period.
He’s a Celtic legend at this point and will go on to be a big player for several more years undoubtedly. Against lesser sides, however, Celtic could do worse than just leave him out of the side.