Celtic captain Scott Brown has, by his high standards, had a pretty quiet start to the season. He struggled for the Hoops in the games against Kilmarnock and Ferencvaros last month.
In the past Brown has made slow starts to the season before, but there had to be a concern that was different to previous years. Possibly due to the enforced lay-off from March this year and because Brown is 35.
In the recent 5-0 win over Ross County, it looked like it was going to be more of the same. In the first-half Brown struggled, and his passing wasn’t at its best.
Something changed at half-time
However, something seemed to change at half-time. Brown played far better in the second-half than he did in the first. In fact, it was arguably his best performance of the season.
He harried and hassled the Ross County players like he has so many opposition players in his 13 years at Celtic Park. He also helped the Hoops control the middle of the park, which allowed Celtic to add three more goals to their tally.
Neil Lennon will be pleased with Brown’s performance. There is no doubt that he would always keep faith in his captain, but he still would have been delighted to see the ‘old Brown’ come to the fore.
Had luxury of being replaced in second-half
The best part for Lennon is that Brown didn’t even need to play the entire second-half. He was replaced on 77 minutes by David Turnbull. That allowed Lennon the luxury of giving Brown some extra rest before Celtic’s game against St Mirren on Wednesday.
Hopefully the performance kickstarts Brown’s season. It has happened before. A slow start to the season, then all of a sudden Brown is up to speed.
Brown might not play 90 minutes every game any more, as he goes towards the end of his career. Indeed, there is no need to, as the likes of Turnbull and Nir Bitton can replace him at times.
However, none of Celtic’s other midfielders have the sheer will to win that Brown has. He won’t want to let his standards drop, and hopefully the second-half against Ross County is the start of Brown’s renaissance.