Neil Lennon should make the right decision and drop Scott Brown when Celtic take on Hearts this weekend.
The 34-year-old has come in for some criticism in recent weeks after a below-par display against Cluj in the Champions League. Brown was back in the side for Thursday’s Europa League win over AIK but he still looked far from his best.
And with two huge games to come before the international break, the club captain could probably do with a few days off.
Celtic should use Brown sparingly from now on
Brown is reaching the twilight of his career. At the age of 34 he can no longer be expected to play virtually every match of every competition. In the past three seasons he has made 161 appearances for Celtic, missing only around 20 games. While he’s undoubtedly still a huge player for us, that is a lot of football for a guy in his 30s to be playing.
Brown should be gradually phased out at this point in his career. He should play around 40 games this season, then maybe 30 next year. That way we could have him on the pitch at his fittest in some of the biggest games – when he’s really needed.
He’s probably needed in both Stockholm and at Ibrox where we will come under pressure, so it makes sense for him to sit out Sunday’s match against Hearts.
Lennon would be much better set playing a midfield duo of Callum McGregor and Olivier Ntcham, with Ryan Christie in front of them. We’d get far more creativity from those three and also better legs around the pitch.
Brown still has a big part to play as we chase nine and then ten-in-a-row. But the notion that he has to feature in every single match is fanciful. Lennon must now put his feelings for Brown to one side and do what’s best for the team.