CELTIC warrior Scott Brown isn’t quite ready for his final fling in the Glasgow derby.
But the Hoops skipper, at the age of 35, acknowledges there are more of these Glasgow duels behind him than there are to be confronted in the future.
And Brown, who made his debut in these special fixtures 13 years ago after his record £4.4million switch from Hibs to Parkhead, knows the clock may be ticking down – and that will be another reason for looking forward to the occasion.
However, Neil Lennon’s onfield lieutenant is taking nothing for granted as far as getting the nod to start the game is concerned.
He was on the substitutes’ bench for the Premiership visit to Perth to face St Johnstone 12 days ago before coming on near the end and helping to turn the match on its head. It was goalless when he made his late entrance, but last-gasp strikes from Leigh Griffiths and Patryk Klimala made certain of three more crucial points in the historic bid for a tenth successive flag.
Brown, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “I savour every moment now. I cherish it because it is slowly approaching the end. For me, I just need to keep pushing, keep working as hard as I possibly can.
“If I play, great. If I don’t, then I need to make sure that I’m good about the dressing room and the stadium.
“You can never turn your nose up at anything and I can never throw my hands up in the air and be disappointed with not playing in games because, at the end of the day, I’m 35 and a half now.
“But I still seem to be able to work as hard as anybody else.
“I’ve kept my body in good condition and, as long as that keeps going, here’s hoping that I can keep turning the results out and keep turning in good performances for as long as I possibly can.”
Despite the unique circumstances in which tomorrow’s encounter will be played, Brown added: “Nothing changes for us in the way that we prepare, the way we analyse or the way we set up because this is another game that we want to win.
“Our organisation behind the scenes is similar for every game and as players we can’t infer that one game is bigger than any other because every game is massive at a club like Celtic. Every game won gets us three points and every three points is huge for us.
“That said, on the day, it’s a good game to play in. It’s just sad that there are no fans at this point.
“The supporters always give you that extra push, especially in these games, but we just need to play the same way without them.”
It may not be Brown’s final day in one of these high-octane confrontations, but you can bet he will want to have the final say.