SCOTT BROWN has been hailed for breaking the 700-game barrier – by his arch-rival Steven Naismith.

The 34-year-old Celtic skipper and his Hearts counterpart have clashed a few times in recent games and that is likely to be the story again this evening when the champions take on the Premiership’s rock-bottom side at Parkhead.

Brown made his debut for the Tynecastle outfit’s city foes Hibs in 2003 and has been a mainstay of the title kings for over a decade following his arrival in Glasgow on a £4.4million transfer switch engineered by Gordon Strachan in the summer of 2007.

Former Ibrox and Everton striker Naismith, whose career has covered the same span, will lead Daniel Stendel’s side this evening and revealed his massive respect for his opposite number.

Looking at Brown’s remarkable career, the Scotland international, speaking to STV, said: “To be honest, it’s the sign of a great player.

“Our careers have paralleled throughout, from way back in the youth team. I saw the other day about his 700 appearances and that’s some achievement.

“It’s not like he’s been the one type of player his whole career. He’s adapted, he’s changed as he’s got older. And again, as you get older, there are moments people doubt you, not just as an individual, but it can be the manager that you’re playing under and what he wants you to do.

“I think under the last two managers, Broony has found, or they’ve found, the best way for him to be most effective. That is not the way he was as an 18-year-old, charging into the box and creating chances and scoring goals, he’s now dictating the play from deeper in the pitch.

“Broony is a top pro and he always has been and he’ll be one that we’ll need to watch in this game.”

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Celtic v Hearts this evening – only in your champion CQN.


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