SCOTT BROWN today celebrated becoming the first Celtic skipper since the legendary Billy McNeill to lead the club to nine successive titles.

The 34-year-old midfield powerhouse, who cost £4.4million when he arrived at Parkhead following a swoop by Gordon Strachan on Hibs in 2007, would have preferred for the Hoops to have clinched their 51st flag in the history on the pitch.

Unfortunately, with football in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, Neil Lennon’s men will have to settle by being awarded the championship by the SPFL after their historic decision today to call a halt to the 2019/20 campaign.

However, with the team 13 points ahead with only eight games to play, they were well on course to emulate the sequence achieved by Jock Stein’s great teams from 1966 to 1974 which had Scotland international centre-half McNeill at the heart of the line-up.

Brown, of course, has guided the side to the phenomenal treble treble and once again total domination of the country looked to be on the cards with the players due to play Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup semi-final on Easter Sunday for the right to play Hibs or Hearts, relegated today, in the Hampden showpiece.

The title is the club’s ELEVENTH consecutive piece of domestic silverware and Brown, speaking to Celtic TV, said: “It’s incredible. We obviously wanted to play every single game, but, due to the circumstances, we’ve not been able to. I think the league has done the right thing having crowned us champions, because it was only a matter of time, anyway.

“We do our talking on the park and we’ve shown over the last nine seasons with how consistent we’ve been. We wanted to continue that, we wanted to show how dominant we’ve been with the leagues, as well.

“I feel for the lads because we’re not able to get the trophy, we’re not able to have Trophy Day with the fans and with our families, as well. It’s hard for the lads that way, but I’m sure we’ll get a Zoom call and we’ll all celebrate that way!”

The captain added: “When we got eight-in-a-row, we were extremely focused to make sure we got the nine. We know how hard we’ve worked over the years. To get eight, and then not get over the line to get nine, that fantastic record, would have been extremely harsh on us, especially with what we’ve done over the years.

“We knew that after December, we had to focus in order to make sure we were on our game every single week and that we pushed each other. We’ve done that since then and we’ve worked extremely hard. For us, these seven weeks have been our recovery. Now, whenever training is ready to go, we’ll be ready to start.

“It’ll be amazing to get everyone back to Celtic Park, to see everyone’s faces, and to see us lift the trophy, as well. We can’t wait to get back to winning ways and we need to make sure that we push and work as hard as we possibly can to get 10 – and I’m sure all the fans will be backing us all the way.”

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