Over the weekend, Erik Sviatchenko spoke about Scott Brown as Celtic’s “fine minister” as the captain had authority to fine players who broke discipline. In Erik’s instance, it was lateness. Scott Brown has been Celtic’s first line of discipline since Neil Lennon’s first period in charge. Young players were led by example, as more experienced players were given clear guidance of what was expected from them as a Celtic player.
Reprimanding a player for hitching a ride on a buggy intended for an injured colleague, as I once witnessed, requires oceans of respect from players and coaches alike. This takes pressure off the manager, who can ration his use of discipline for more select matters, when its rarity has more effect.
Controlling a squad of several dozen well-paid athletes is a challenge when results are not going your way and there are campaigns against the manager. Players cultivate all the wrong feelings when reading social media and pester their agents. At these times, the manager’s voice can lose effect. Scott Brown could not prevent our collapse this season but you do not need to think too hard to figure how heavily Neil Lennon and John Kennedy have relied on him. Not that you will hear any of this from Scott. I would have him in my corner before anyone else in football.