SCOTT BROWN has one more game to play before he says farewell to Celtic after 14 trophy-laden years.
The 35-year-old onfield leader, who has won 22 honours since his £4.4million arrival from Hibs, will, ironically, pull down the final curtain on his Hoops playing career at Easter Road tomorrow.
Brown made his last appearance at Parkhead in the green and white hoops on Wednesday evening as the team thrashed Scottish Cup Finalists St Johnstone 4-0.
It was an emotional night in the east end of Glasgow, but the midfielder must now look to his playing/coaching career at Aberdeen where he agreed a two-year pre-contract deal last month.
THUMBS UP…Scott Brown reassures the Celtic fans.
Brown, who made 610 appearances and scored 46 goals, looked back at his days at Celtic since Gordon Strachan paid a record fee between two Scottish clubs of £4.4million for the powerhouse in 2007.
He reflected on the midweek goodbye without supporters packing the place to give him a fitting send-off and said: “It’s sad, I’ve had 14 fantastic years here. I’ve enjoyed every single moment of it, I’ve made so many friends. I’ve seen so many players come and so many players leave the club.
“I’ve had so many trophies, so many great occasions and it’s just coming to the end of it, I’ve got one game left. When I signed it was my last game for Hibs as well to play against Celtic and now it’s vice versa.
“It’s a special occasion because Hibs means so much to myself, as does Celtic, so it’s going to be one of those occasions I relish and will always remember, that’s for sure.”
Asked if he envisaged ever taking over from Neil Lennon as club captain, Brown, speaking to Sky Sports News, answered: “That day before I signed, I was sitting in the manager’s office, I’ve gone to sit down and Lenny has walked in and I’m thinking this is my worst nightmare.
QUADRUPLE TREBLE…Scott Brown seals the phenomenal 12 domestic trophies in four years at Hampden in December last year.
“I’m thinking: ‘Right, chill, me and this guy have been fighting for the last five years and we probably haven’t got a lot in common’.
“So, we’ve sat down, he’s like: ‘Come here, let’s talk’. We start talking about his love for the club, how much the fans and Celtic mean to him, how much taking part in training sessions and being captain means.
“I was there thinking that he’s a great guy, where’s this going? And he was talking me up, as well, he said: ‘You’re going to love it at Celtic, this club is made for you. You’re a winner, you’re a fighter, you’ll run through walls for people’.
“At that moment, I’m thinking that this is a bit of me. I knew speaking to Gordon and speaking to Lenny, as well, that I’d made the right decision in coming here.
“I walked outside at Celtic Park and the fans were all chanting and happy that I’d signed and there were 60,000 people there and I was thinking: ‘This is incredible’.
PEEK-A-BOO…Scott Brown peers over the newly-won League Cup in December 2019.
“Me and Lenny hit off that time really well and have continued that bond all the way through.
“Even when he was managing the first time and he came back, what he did for my career at the start and put a bit of belief in myself and had that time to sit me down and chat to me about Celtic.
“He didn’t have to do that, he didn’t owe me anything, but he wanted to do that as a leaving Celtic captain to a young player coming into the club, so it just shows you the respect he had for the club.”
Brown was eyed elsewhere before making the switch to Glasgow and he continued: “I had an offer from Spurs, from Harry Redknapp, but it was too soon for myself. I think I wanted to come to Celtic, I wanted to enjoy it.
MAKE MINE A TREBLE…Scott Brown with the silverware clean sweep, the League Cup, the Premiership trophy and the Scottish Cup.
“I was starting to really enjoy my football at the club and they put a lot of faith into me, especially during hard times, as well, and they stuck by me, so it was great to give a little bit back and Lenny was the manager at the time.
“I had an opportunity to go to Newcastle and I was out of contract, but Lenny was like: ‘I want to keep you as captain, I want to build the team around you, I think we can push on and keep this winning mentality going’.
“We were doing quite well at the time and it was one of those things. I was thinking: ‘Do I want to talk and stay at Celtic, do I want to go down to England and have a fresh start, or do I want to keep winning and show everyone that I am a good player, that I can keep winning and deal with this?’.
“That was the little bit of fight inside me that I wanted to prove everybody wrong and it’s stuck by me for the last 10-11 years.
“There have been a lot of people writing me off and I want to show people that I’ve still got another few years and I’ll continue like that until I retire.”
THE BROONY…Scott Brown celebrates THAT goal at Ibrox in front of a bewildered El Hadji-Diouf.
Queried about any particular game that stood out after often speaking about the 5-1 win at Ibrox in 2018, Brown answered: “Not really. That was huge. The Joey Barton one at Celtic Park, as well. Joey talked a great game and I showed him a great game.
“It was as simple as that. He had done all the talking off the field and I had done all the talking on it.
“I had an opportunity at the end of the game, he shook my hand and it was a battle. I already had it in my head that I was winning it before the game had even started because he’d been talking too much.
“He had maybe have done that a lot down in England, but he’s had a fantastic career, he went back down and played in the English Premier League.
“It shows you what a top-quality side we had at the time that we were doing that to players who’d go down to play in England, so it shows you how strong we were at the time.”
END OF THE SHOW IN THE EAST END…Scott Brown and John Kennedy embrace as he comes off during the 4-0 midweek win over St Johnstone – his final farewell in Glasgow.
Asked one last question about how he would feel about running out at Celtic Park next season in an Aberdeen strip, Brown added: “I’ll be happy to say goodbye to the fans. I’ve not had that opportunity to say goodbye to them personally. I know Wednesday night was my last game there, but it’s not the same without the fans.
“I would have loved to walk around the park to say goodbye to them individually, but it wasn’t to be.
“I’ve enjoyed every single moment of it. There’s always going to be ups and downs and that’s part and parcel of football.
“The best thing is that we keep coming back and the fans keep supporting these players when I’ve gone and I can’t thank them enough.”