I was at the Celtic FC Foundation Dinner last week and guest Charlie Mulgrew was asked about the best he had played with at Celtic. He mentioned Virgil van Djik and Victor Wanyama as greats but told us the best was Scott Brown. “Even when we were playing fives or sevens, his team almost always won.” When you hear comments like this, you pay attention.
Scott retired yesterday after winning 23 major trophies, a joint record in British football held with Billy McNeill, 22 of Scott’s won at Celtic, his first at Hibernian. He was adored by his managers as much for his attitude as his ability. Leading by example, there would be no hiding in a Celtic shirt with Scott on the field, no unnecessary lingering on the treatment table. As captain since 2010, he was the first line of enforcement of rules and standards.
This season was spent as player and assistant to Stephen Glass at Aberdeen, a venture that did not work out, although a goal at Ibrox, a venue he previously endured abuse and assault at, could yet prove to be a vital contribution in the title race. He left a day after his former mentor, Neil Lennon, accepted a managerial job in Cyprus. Hmmm.
In person, he could not have been more different than the bulldog he resembled on the pitch; he is intelligent and relaxed. You know the stats, there is no correlation between playing and managing ability, so let’s not burden Scott with any expectations. Hope to see him back soon at Celtic Park.