Former Celtic captain Jackie McNamara on Scott Brown, his future and what goes on inside the Huddle

By John McGinley

September 23, 2020

One of the big talking points amongst Celtic supporters right now is the role of Scott Brown in Neil Lennon’s starting eleven.

Brown has started every one of our competitive matches so far in 2020/21, one of only two players to do so.

That’s despite the captain now being 35 years old and the manager having many midfield options to choose from.

Some have questioned whether Brown should be used more sparingly over the coming campaign, with the manager even alluding to that possibility to reporters over the weekend (The Herald).

Who better to discuss the role of a Celtic captain than a former one?

Scott Brown in action for Celtic / (Photo by Paul Campbell/Getty Images)

We asked Jackie McNamara for his views on the use of Brown this season.

He said: “When you get to a certain age and you have a bad game, people say you’re finished, people react to that.

“There’s been a lot of that with Scott over the last few seasons and he’s bounced back.

“I like him in the team. He’s perhaps one Neil would use wisely, playing him one game a week instead of two.

“He might one to use for certain games, rather than every game.”

With that reduced role however, the obvious question becomes: will it impact Celtic negatively to lose a leader on the pitch? Would his absence be a factor in other players’ performance dropping?

McNamara told us: “It shouldn’t be. Scott had a little spell out under Brendan Rodgers. Callum McGregor was in as captain at that time and the team was doing well.

“Scott is good at organising, he’s a good leader. I think Callum can take the armband no problem but I don’t see many others who could do it.

“That might be the worry Lennon has, there’s not a lot of leaders in that dressing room.

“With Lennon it’s about trust. Brown is his commander on the park, but he can’t play forever so we need plan B, there should be a continuity in the team.”

Callum McGregor celebrates a Celtic goal / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

McGregor certainly appears to be a shoe-in when it comes to who Brown’s successor will be.

Kieran Tierney even said it was almost guaranteed when on interview outlet Open Goal recently.

When that happens, the midfielder will be the one to lead the pre-match team talk inside the famous Celtic Huddle.

We couldn’t let Jackie go without at least attempting to get to the bottom of what a captain says during the ritual.

He wouldn’t give up his secrets but he did recall a favourite time prior to a derby against Rangers.

The Celtic huddle / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

McNamara said: “I can’t tell you that! It varied, sometimes I would delegate.

“There was one time against Rangers, when we’d already won the league, the fans were celebrating already.

“I didn’t say anything, I was just laughing. In the Huddle smiling and laughing before we got started. It was such a great feeling.

“We were just catching each other’s eyes, just to say ‘let’s enjoy this’.”

Hopefully the current crop of stars have moments like that ahead of them this season.

You can watch our full interview with Jackie McNamara on the Celtic captaincy via our YouTube channel.