Scott Brown’s Celtic tale is a weird one. He has captained the club to unparalleled success but much like his team, has been disastrous in 2020/21.
The skipper’s performances have been drab, lacking energy and full of mistakes. He was sent off after just five minutes on the field against Livingston just last month – a moment of madness that defined his season.
He has been poor and nothing says as much than Neil Lennon’s decision to axe him from the side in recent months. Since the club’s victory over Lille in the Europa League before Christmas, the manager has preferred Ismaila Soro.
Though, with the Ivorian missing on Tuesday night against Kilmarnock, it was the ideal time for Brown to respond to the critics. He’s had his fair share this season – no less so than on FFC – but he answered them emphatically during Celtic’s 4-0 win.
The 35-year-old was a rock and demonstrated the qualities that have made him such an imposing figure at Parkhead down the years.
Celtic were eyeing a move for Giannelli Imbula throughout January but this showed why they didn’t invest. Brown was imperious, not only doing his defensive duties to near perfection but also popping up emphatically in the final third.
The captain opened the scoring after 29 minutes, getting his head to a David Turnbull corner from the right. Brown showed great desire to get on the end of the delivery and his header was excellent after making a clever run.
If that wasn’t enough, the veteran secured the assist for Albian Ajeti’s late strike. Brown played a delightful ball over the top into the forward’s feet before he turned and then buried the opportunity.
This was as complete a performance as they come from the experienced head. He laid a solid platform for Celtic and in total, won a mighty 11 duels throughout the contest, showcasing his oft-seen desire and intensity in the engine room. Brown also produced five interceptions, a tally that happened to be more than any Hoops player on the night.
The midfield brute has always had a habit of frustrating the opposition and that has never been clearer this season than on Tuesday. He was brought down continuously in what was a wonderful performance both defensively and offensively.
Chris Doyle of Glasgow Live typified his display at full-time: “Eyebrows were raised as Ismaila Soro was dropped, but the captain put in a vintage performance, probably the best of his season. Capped it off with a brilliant header.”
This type of showing will have Lennon pondering his midfield options again. If Brown can finish the season with this type of consistency the Bhoys will have quite the pairing if Soro plays too.
Odsonne Edouard may have scored twice on Tuesday but without Brown, he would not have had the platform to do so. He was calm, composed, and ultimately, Lennon’s true hero.