Brendan Rodgers has sent a subtle warning to Scott Brown about his future in the Celtic team.
The Hoops captain came on as a second-half substitute in the 5-1 rout of Kilmarnock. That’s the fourth game in-a-row in which Brown has made an appearance from the bench.
Brown’s return has left the Celtic manager with a huge dilemma. The club’s best performances of the season have come without their captain on the pitch. Instead, it’s been the likes of Ryan Christie and Callum McGregor who’ve been earning rave reviews for their energetic performances.
And Rodgers has thrown down the gauntlet to Brown, claiming he won’t just be placed back in. Speaking to Celtic’s in-house media team after the game, Rodgers made it clear he won’t just be put back in for the sake of it.
“I have compassion for players, especially the ones who have been amazing for me. I don’t have sentimentality.
“The level and the fluency of the team was great. Callum McGregor and Ryan Christie with Tom Rogic have been exceptional.
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“I’m so happy with the performance, a very good win for us.”
Brown will get his chance
This is most likely nothing other than clever man-management from Rodgers. The Celtic manager will put the captain back in his place eventually, but that moment clearly isn’t now.
Celtic have been at their best when McGregor, Rogic, and Christie have been in the same side. Whilst Brown has come on in recent matches and done a reliable job, he still hasn’t earned his starting place back. It won’t be too long before he will with Rodgers likely to throw him back in as soon as McGregor or Christie go off-form.
With huge games against Hibs, Aberdeen, and Rangers coming up away from home, Rodgers will want Brown in there. Some of the matches over the course of December will result in battles, and there’s no better man to lead a battle than Celtic’s captain.
What Rodgers’ comments will do, however, is make sure that there’s no complacency from Brown. He will understand that he has to perform to the best of his ability to break back into the side.
To Brown, it’s motivation to improve, whilst to Christie, Rogic, and McGregor it’s backing from their manager. To supporters? It’s definitely interesting.