Celtic captain Scott Brown will be experiencing something we’ve all been through.
It’s a bit like when you were at school in the days before summer began, and the teacher’s brought in the TV. Or when you know you’re going to a new job, so you phone it in a bit. Not that I’ve ever done those things, and if my employer’s reading, I find that attitude disgraceful. However, it’s a relatable scenario. I’m told.
What I’m saying is, Scott Brown’s future is secure. He could’ve easily phoned it in during the course of this last run of games in Green and White. He’s off to Aberdeen to be a player/coach under Stephen Glass. Everyone knows this already.
Yet, in the context of all of this upheaval, we’re actually missing something: Scott Brown has been really, really good of late.
The 35-year-old has kept Ismaila Soro out of the team. During John Kennedy’s mini-revival at the club, Brown has been his most trusted general on the pitch. While we were frustrated by Soro not getting game time under Lennon, that was in large part because Broony just wasn’t passing muster.
Now, he’s undroppable. And he isn’t getting enough credit.
In the win against Aberdeen in late February, the captain was absolutely everywhere. He had 105 touches of the ball at the Bhoys looked to recover quickly from the Neil Lennon debacle [WhoScored?]. Against Livingston, everyone played well, but Broony was huge in keeping the Celtic midfield ticking. Tenacious, confident in the pass and even popping up with a goal (of sorts), the no.8 kept things moving.
He looked like, to be perfectly frank, the Scott Brown we’re used to.
Scott Brown has become undroppable for the Celtic v Rangers derby
So, ahead of Sunday, there could’ve been trepidation, even criticism of Kennedy were he to automatically pick the outgoing captain. For most of this season, Brown’s presence in the team was met with groans from a significant portion of the support. I include myself in that, because I think Soro could be a really good player. It seemed at times that players were being picked based on their reputation rather than their ability.
But I’ve got to find the appropriate cutlery and eat my words. I thought Brown was finally past it. In recent weeks, though, he’s proven as valuable as anyone on the pitch.
The return of James Forrest is an obvious pick-me-up for the future Aberdeen coach. Broony looks far more confident knowing that, in doubt, he can spray the ball out wide and find the diminutive winger. That goes, too, for the improved play of Mohamed Elyounoussi. Having proper wingers on the pitch has made everything look better, and has made the midfield less congested.
That suits a captain who likes space to operate, because invariably, he finds his passing targets. You can use the term “quarterback”, if you so choose.
So, instead of being a millstone, Broony is the cornerstone for John Kennedy’s side against Rangers on Sunday.
You can bet, in his last Glasgow Derbies, he’ll want to make every minute count.