Long-term Celtic foe Steven Naismith has praised Parkhead captain Scott Brown for making it to 700 career appearances.

Former Rangers striker Naismith played at Ibrox between 2007 and 2012. During that period, he regularly came up against our eight-in-a-row winning leader.

Brown, however, has managed to stay at the top level of Scottish football, whilst Naismith now finds himself battling relegation with Hearts. The pair have also been long-term team-mates with the Scotland national team of course.

Scott Brown and Steven Naismith (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

And friendship is clearly there between them too. Naismith spoke to the BBC today about his Scotland hopes, and when asked about Brown’s achievement, the former Rangers man was full of admiration:

“It’s a sign of a great player. Our years have kind of paralleled way back to the youth team. To make 700 appearances is some achievement. It’s not as if he has been the one type of player throughout his career.

“He has changed as he has got older. And as you get older there are moments when people doubt you. Whether that be not just as an individual but it can be the manager you are playing under in what he wants you to do.

“I think over the last two managers (at Celtic) Broony has found or they have found the best way for him to be the most effective. And that’s not like when he was an 18-year-old charging into the box creating chances and scoring goals. It’s now dictating the play from deeper in the pitch. He is a top pro and he always has been so he is one that we will need to watch on Wednesday.”

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Celtic vs Hearts looking like a mismatch

Naismith and Brown will resume their long-term rivalry on Wednesday night when Hearts visit Parkhead.

Funnily enough, Naismith has yet to score against Celtic since joining the Jambos back in January 2018. Initially on a loan deal, the ex-Rangers and Norwich star is committed to Tynecastle permanently these days.

But any threat Hearts seemed to build after their 2-1 win against Rangers in Gorgie appears to have disappeared again. They followed that up with a poor 3-3 draw at St Johnstone before a shocking performance in a 3-2 home defeat to Kilmarnock. Beating League One side Falkirk 1-0 on Saturday hasn’t covered the cracks either.

Scott Brown against Hearts (Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

Daniel Stendel’s men will, of course, take confidence from the Rangers win, but they haven’t won at Celtic Park since 2009. With a lack of confidence evident in their play, you can’t blame Celtic supporters for thinking we should walk all over them on Wednesday.

Brown will be at the heart of things once again, showing that evolution that Naismith praised him for. Even at this early stage, it’s looking as though his desire and character will lead us to a record-equalling nine titles in-a-row.

 

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