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‘I HAD MY EYE ON BROWN,’ O’NEILL

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MARTIN O’NEILL has revealed Scott Brown was on his Celtic radar before he left as Hoops boss in 2005.

The 66-year-old gaffer will bring the Republic of Ireland side to to the east end of Glasgow to play in the 32-year-old skipper’s testimonial on May 20, the day after the Scottish Cup Final.

And O’Neill, who spent five years at Parkhead, admitted he was well aware of Brown’s outstanding qualities.

He said: “I absolutely remember Scott Brown when he was a young lad coming through at Hibs. Both he and Kevin Thomson were the shining lights of what was a very good young Hibs team at the time.

“Not long after I left, Gordon Strachan signed Scott, but he was a player who was most definitely on our radar.

POPULAR BHOY…Scott Brown impressed Martin O’Neill during his Hibs days.

“He did really well for Hibs and what I seem to recall is that he wasn’t afraid to get in about it when we played them. He wasn’t intimidated by some of the reputations that would have been in our team.

“We had a squad of experienced international players who had been there and done it, but the likes of Scott had no qualms about getting right into it. I would absolutely remember that much.
“I would certainly not take the credit for getting him to Celtic – that belongs to Gordon and those at the club who facilitated that – but he was most certainly a player that we were interested in and aware of his potential.

“There was talk of Rangers, too, being interested in both players and we knew that he was a player who had the raw potential to go on and have a very good career, which I think we can say he has.

“In this day and age, it is a phenomenal time to have served at the football club and I am sure there will be many who will look to show their appreciation when the time comes around.”

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