Spending £4.4m on a 22-year-old Hibs midfield player in 2007 was a significant demonstration of faith by Gordon Strachan and Celtic. A year later, Rangers owner, David Murray, said he was not prepared to meet the wages Celtic offered for Scott Brown, a player both clubs wanted to sign.
Murray was not known for underplaying his financial clout, this comment felt more like a taunt, implying Celtic were rash in spending so much on a player who was still bedding into life at the top. That first season at Celtic ended with Scott watching Barry Robson play a magnificent cameo as Celtic came from behind to win the title, the first of 22 major honours won as Celtic player and captain.
His off-field persona could not be further from the strutting bulldog he is on the park. Mixing with fans he is understated and generous with his time, there are no signs of the laser-focussed leader he becomes in short sleeves.
The No. 6 role does not provide many scoring opportunities but Scott has had his fair share. Defenders never figured that showing him onto his (apparently) weaker left was not a good idea. If you close your eyes and picture his goals you’ll repeatedly see him drop the shoulder before striking with his left.
The passage of a decade probably diminishes the importance in my memory of a Scottish Cup equaliser, when he led 10 men off the ropes at Ibrox, somehow the joy of a last minute winner against Hamilton feels more important than the rest.
Captain for 11 years, he motivated and disciplined the playing squad. He led by example of professionalism; the kind of player every manager loves to have in the squad.
In Celtic history there is only one captain who could relate to leading men through such a period of domination, Billy McNeill. Billy was also 35 when he left Celtic, also after the first title loss in a decade. Our greatest captain went out held shoulder high after winning the Scottish Cup. Scott Brown deserves no less. One more for the captain.