Lennon tells Celtic fans he was vindicated in starting Brown

By David Walton

December 21, 2020

Neil Lennon tried to make a point to the Celtic fans last night as he stated he was “vindicated” in starting Scott Brown against Hearts.

Brown played 105 minutes of action in yesterday’s Scottish Cup final before being taken off for Ismaila Soro. Many would’ve been hoping Soro would’ve started given his impressive displays against Lille and Kilmarnock respectively.

Celtic got the job done in the end and secured the quadruple treble. But it was a rollercoaster of a game for Brown individually. He strolled the first 45 as Celtic were in cruise control. However, in the second half it was a different story as he was too easily overrun and gave possession away carelessly.

And Lennon has decided to go on the defensive regarding the decision as he informed fans he made the right one.

As quoted by the Herald, Lennon said: “I thought Scott Brown did brilliant for the third goal, and I was totally vindicated in starting him today. I’m so proud of them.

“It’s not an easy thing to do, winning trophies, and to win 12 in a row is just an incredible achievement for the players and the club. It’s quite unique and we’ll probably never see the likes of this again in our lifetimes – it’s just a shame there weren’t people here to witness what was a great cup final.

“I said before the game that we were coming up against a very, very good team and it shows just how difficult it is to win trophies. We were pushed all the way by a very good side.”

Will Celtic boss use this as an excuse to reinstate Brown regularly?

So, this was always my fear over this game. Almost as if Lennon was going to use this as a chance to get Brown back in regularly again. One decent game and he would take Soro’s place consistently again.

Lennon couldn’t plausibly drop Soro if yesterday’s game was any other fixture. It was only through the excuse of loyalty that Lennon had a logical reason to start the Celtic captain. However, the general consensus would’ve been that Soro takes Brown’s spot on Wednesday.

He may still do so, but what about Saturday’s trip to Hamilton? Next week’s game against Dundee United? The derby at Ibrox? For me these are all games that Soro is earning the chance to play in. Brown’s performance yesterday was decent, but not as impressive as what Soro has produced in his last two games.

Celtic’s Neil Lennon and Scott Brown remain close (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images)

But the cup win has given Lennon an excuse to throw Brown back in. A chance to play one of his favourites regularly again. It remains to be seen if he takes it, but going on about being vindicated was an aim at those who wanted Soro to start yesterday.

I’ll go out on a limb and say that had Soro came on at half-time, Celtic would’ve won more comfortably. We needed fresh energy and a top-up of aggression with Brown’s influence waning. Lennon refusing to make that change earlier nearly saw us throw a routine game out the window.

So all eyes will now be on the next few team-sheets as the Brown vs Soro debate comes up again. For me, it’s time to start integrating the young Ivorian.

In other news, an SPFL club is looking to make a major change before they play Celtic.