VETERAN skipper Scott Brown, winner of 22 honours in his glittering 14 years at Celtic, doesn’t recognise this season’s disappointing team.
The faltering champions have been a mere shadow of the all-powerful unit that has dominated the domestic scene for nine glorious years.
Remarkably, they have lost TEN games in all competitions and been held to NINE draws in other outings, as CQN pointed out yesterday.
Neil Lennon’s men have failed to put together an impressive sequence of victories that may have helped turned a frustrating, disappointing campaign around and set the Hoops on their way towards the history books.
Instead, the term has been punctuated by awful results like the 1-0 flop on Sunday night in Dingwall against Ross County who kicked off the encounter as the Premiership’s worst team.
Looking at the agonising list of setbacks, Brown admitted: “That’s not Celtic, that’s not us.
“It sums the season up. You go two, three, four wins in a row then have a defeat. It has been hard for us to take. We know we’ve not played as well as we possibly could have.
“We could have scored two or three goals against Ross County, but we’ve got to defend set-pieces a lot better as a team, as well.
“You go late, into the 91st, 92nd minute and we’re peppering the goal and we’re forcing mistakes and errors and, to be fair, we still did that.
“It just wasn’t clear-cut chances that were falling for us.
“It was half-chances and we maybe didn’t do enough in the final third for us to say that we deserved to win the game.
OOPS…Scott Brown is left standing as Jordan White heads in the winner.
ON THE RUN…Scott Brown forcing on play in Dingwall.
“I thought we defended quite well throughout the game, but it’s one set play and it’s those small margins in football that you lose concentration for a few seconds, and he (Jason White) gets a run on the lads and scores a header at the back post. He was between me and Kristoffer Ajer.
“It’s zonal marking, we work on it and it’s how we do it. We keep a line. It’s part and parcel of football. People want to do zonal, others want to do man-marking.
“We do a mixture of both. We can stop the run, we can head it better. We need to look at it and right it tomorrow.
”It’s something that’s pretty much been there throughout our whole season.”
The scoreline would have had a distinctly different complexion if Odsonne Edouard and Ryan Christie had stuck away two gilt-edged opportunities in the first-half and 35-year-old Brown, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “Every team misses chances, but we also need to create a few more openings.
“The chances we created were from their mistakes. We need to play better as a team.
“We just need to make sure the final ball is spot on and put on a plate for somebody.
“Ross County had a gameplan, stuck to it and they fought well throughout the 90 minutes. It was a slack decision from us. We could have squeezed the game.
“It’s small margins of error and we’ve got to take responsibility.
“When you go up there, it’s always a tough game. We went there at the start of the season and we didn’t play too well and won 5-0. You’d probably take that rather than playing well, playing nice football and not scoring the goals and losing via a set-piece.”
The golden opening for a tenth successive crown has been well and truly closed with Lennon’s outfit 18 points adrift, but Brown is in no mood to acknowledge where and when another team will win the championship.
The side are now due to take on Aberdeen at the weekend and the onfield leader added: “We’ve got to focus on our next game and make sure we’re ready. The gaffer’s got to make sure he’s got the best team out possible and that we get back to winning ways quickly.
“That’s what this club is all about. This season’s not been great for us to be perfectly honest and the performance against Ross County probably sums it up.”