‘YOU CAN’T UNDERESTIMATE THE INFLUENCE,’ BROONY BACKS COMEBACK BHOY

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SCOTT BROWN is backing his successor Callum McGregor to enjoy a treble tops in his second campaign as Celtic’s onfield leader.

The evergreen one-time captain enjoyed playing a pivotal role in the club’s phenomenal quadruple treble success before leaving at the end of the 2020/21 season for an ill-fated stint at Aberdeen.

Now, 18 months down the line, 37-year-old Brown is manager of English League One club Fleetwood Town and is keeping a close watch on his old club’s progress under Ange Postecoglou.

PRIZE GUYS…Scott Brown and Callum McGregor celebrate Celtic’s 1-0 League Cup success over Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox side in December 2019 at Hampden.

Following the inexplicable stumble in his last term when the Hoops’ historic quest for 10 successive championships was over shortly after the turn of the year, the ex-inspirational midfielder has watched as the team have reclaimed the crown and thrown in a League Cup for good measure.

Celtic are nine points ahead at the Premiership pinnacle and, ironically, kick off the second part of the crusade against his former Dons side at Pittodrie a week on Saturday.

McGregor has missed 11 consecutive games after limping off with a knee injury in the 3-1 Champions League defeat against RB Leipzig in Germany on October 5.

Brown insisted the 29-year-old anchorman’s comeback will provide the springboard to more silverware during an exciting spell in the club’s history under the ever-demanding Postecoglou.

HAMPDEN HEROES…Scott Brown and Mikael Lustig hold the Scottish Cup after the 2-1 win over Hearts at Hampden on May 25 2019. Keeper Scott Bain joins in the celebrations.

The player who won 23 honours at Parkhead – including 10 titles with nine in succession – said: “Trust me, you can’t underestimate the influence Callum has inside that dressing room in terms of setting standards for the rest of the group.

“He certainly won’t allow complacency to set in and that’s one reason why Ange will be delighted to have him back at this critical stage in the season. You need to make sure you maintain those standards and focus on the next game.

“It can be a mistake to look too far ahead of yourselves. But they’ve got two Cups there to be won and they’ll want to make sure they challenge for them.

“Most importantly, they’ll want to win the league and they’re obviously in a great position to do that at this point.

“But they have to push on in the second half of the campaign and having a guy such as Callum back in there to drive things from the inside will be a massive help in achieving all of that.”

THE FINAL GLORY…Scott Brown with the 2020 Scottish Cup, his 23rd – and last – honour as a Celtic player.

Brown, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “They’re in great shape for the second half of the season.

“They’ve had a winter break and they’ll enjoy a training camp in some warm weather.

“From there, I’m quite sure they’ll be ready to kick on again. You can see that they are a good team with a good understanding of each other.

“They’ve got great energy, but that should be a given, especially at Celtic.

“But for them to be scoring the amount of goals they’re scoring and playing such entertaining football shows what they are all about.

“Having Callum back out there on the pitch will only make them stronger and keep those standards high.”

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