SCOTT BROWN would dearly love to complete his final derby encounter at Ibrox on Sunday as a WINNER.
That’s the view of long-time admirer Murdo MacLeod who reckons the Hoops’ inspirational onfield leader will be utterly focused on guiding the team to their first win at the fifth time of asking against Steven Gerrard’s side in the High Noon showdown in five days’ time.
Brown has suffered along with everyone at Parkhead during a wretched campaign, the club’s first trophyless term in 11 years.
The quest for the historic tenth successive title came off the rails at the turn of the year with an unfortunate loss in Govan where Callum McGregor deflected a freak effort wide of Vasilis Barkas for the game’s only goal.
And the bid for a fifth consecutive Scottish Cup ended at the same venue earlier this month in another catalogue of missed opportunities, including a feeble penalty-kick attempt from Odsonne Edouard.
TOP OF THE HEAP…Scott Brown throws himself into the celebrations after Tom Rogic had opened the scoring in the 4-0 Scottish Cup semi-final against the Ibrox side in the 4-0 mauling in April 2018.
Once again the killer goal came from a visiting player with Jonjoe Kenny thumping a Joe Aribo cross past Scott Bain for the second strike for the grateful home team.
MacLeod, a veteran of Glasgow derbies and a goalscorer in the unforgettable 4-2 victory when 10 men won the league in 1979, insists it is time for the talking to stop and for his old club to go out and come back with a victory to mark the farewell of a special player in this fixture.
The one-time powerhouse midfielder has told the current squad to get the job done and said: “Scott Brown would, I am sure, love to win his final Old Firm game as a Celtic player. What a way that would be to go out as captain.
“He’s done it all at Celtic, been extremely successful and will be disappointed he can’t leave with a trophy this season.
“But a win at Ibrox would be massively satisfying for him.
“I think Brown’s been a fantastic captain. Year in, year out he has been the main man.”
THE BROONY…Scott Brown goes through his now-famous goal celebration routine in front of El Hadj Diouf.
The 35-year-old skipper, who will be joining Aberdeen as player/coach in the summer, was involved as the fallen champions lost 2-0 in the east end of Glasgow in October in a shocking performance and Neil Lennon saw his side go down again at Ibrox on January 2 in his last Glasgow match.
A flying header from Mohamed Elyounoussi gave the Hoops the advantage in the third encounter at Parkhead, but the team’s inability to deal with set-plays allowed the visitors to equalise and nick a point.
And then came the Scottish Cup exit with Edouard the sinner-in-chief as John Kennedy’s side passed up four fabulous opportunities to score.
MacLeod continued: “The Celtic fans are fed up with hearing about what might have been. It’s been one of the biggest let-down seasons in of all time for the supporters – and not even winning a derby so far has added to it all.
“The Celtic players have got to pull their sleeves up, get on with it and try to win the game on Sunday.
“It’s so important for them to finish the season on a positive note. Celtic have had two good performances against Rangers this season and should have won the games – but didn’t.
HOOP HOOP HOORAY…Murdo MacLeod celebrates his strike to make it 4-2 in the title-winning encounter against Rangers in 1979. Andy Lynch runs to congratulate him while Davie Provan sinks to his knees in elation.
“If they are creating chances, they have got to take them.
“You can talk about anything, someone doing a fantastic trick or a great pass, but unless your team wins, then you are doing nothing.
“I think that’s what Celtic have to look at. It’s all right talking about the good performances and ‘should’ve-won’ games. But you’ve simply got to WIN the game.
“That would give the fans a wee lift towards the end of the season.”
MacLeod, speaking to the Scottish Sun, added: “They’ve been so fed up watching how the team has played for most of a deeply disappointing season.
“They’ve read about Celtic’s so-called good spells in derbies.
“But you’re expecting Celtic to be up towards the top end of the table. Not, as we see, 20-odd points behind Rangers.
“Ending their attempt to finish the league season unbeaten would be a big positive for the fans.”