Scott Brown’s return is one of the most prominent talking points of recent matches.
After Celtic easily dismantled Hamilton Academical 3-0 at the Hope CBD Stadium, there was plenty to cheer about. Ryan Christie put in another energetic display along with Callum McGregor. Meanwhile, Olivier Ntcham’s return was a huge plus-point for Hoops supporters.
Yet, Rodgers’ comments after the game may have taken some of the euphoria down from the players. The Celtic manager rarely puts a foot wrong at Parkhead, and is on his way to becoming a Hoops legend.
Despite that, however, he had this to say when quizzed on whether his captain would have trouble getting back into the side.
“No, as much as people would want to say that. I have seen a few reports since I have been up here. There are boys talking about it and, yes, we function well but that is because we have always functioned as a collective.
“We build it around the team. Individual players are important but they will never win you things. It is about the collective.
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“And Browny is a big part of that, no matter how much people want to write him off and wither him away.”
Competition for places
In the nicest way possible, Rodgers has just confirmed that Brown will come straight back into the side when fit. You can see his point – he’s the captain and controls so much of what’s good about the team.
Does it, however, send out the right message to the players who have been performing consistently?
Anyone who wants to say Celtic haven’t performed better without Brown are deluding themselves. The Hoops captain is so influential, but Celtic have been more fluid without him. That’s not unfair, that’s just a fact.
The likes of McGregor and Christie have performed heroically well in Brown’s absence. So much so that they’ve taken the team clear at the top of the Premiership and nabbed a Betfred Cup final place. In addition to that, they’ve thrown themselves back into contention in their Europa League group.
Therefore, how does it look to players who’ve performed so well to know that they’ll be right out the side just because Brown is back?
Nobody should be getting a place in this side because of reputation. Brown, like everyone else, needs to earn his way back, but it looks as though he won’t have to do that.
The Celtic captain has won it all and continues to be a capable performer, but why fix what isn’t broken? 18 goals in the last six games without Brown shows this team can still perform without their captain.
He’ll come back in regardless, and someone is going to drop out. Whoever that is will have a right to feel a tad peeved.