Lennon hopes for Brown stay

Celtic boss Neil Lennon is confident captain Scott Brown will sign a new contract with the Scottish giants.Brown scored the winner in Celtic’s 1-0 win over the Melbourne Victory in a pre-season friendly on Wednesday as the club wrapped up a three-game tour of Australia.

The Scotland international has one year left on his contract at Celtic Park, but Lennon expects a new deal for the inspirational 26-year-old.

“We haven’t sat down with him yet, but he knows what we think of him as a player and we’re hoping the negotiations won’t be a problem,” Lennon said.

“He’s an important player for us, as are a few others, but in his case particularly we would like to get him bedded down, get him settled.”

“He’s got a year left on his contract so it’s important we can negotiate that pretty quickly.”

Brown fired home Kris Commons’ corner kick to secure the win for Celtic, and his manager paid tribute to the team-work between the pair.

“We haven’t done a lot of training together but Kris and Scott used initiative and imagination and it was a really good goal,” Lennon said.

“We’ve given (Brown) the responsibility of being the captain and he’s matured into that role very, very well.”

“His consistency last season was excellent, he was a huge player for us last year and considering he is only 26, he is not even at his peak yet so his best years are still to come.”

Striker Commons, who himself only signed with the Glasgow powerhouse in January, also paid tribute to the influence of the Celtic captain.

“He’s a role model, a leader, a natural-born leader, a natural captain and he certainly gives a better speech in the huddle than Sammy (stand-in captain Georgios Samaras),” Commons said.

“He’s a top man, he leads from the front and the thing with Scott is that he loves being captain for Celtic, and that’s a massive plus for us.”

The Celtic squad will now return to Glasgow ahead of the opening game of the Scottish Premier League season on July 24, and Commons said their tour of Australia would hold them in good stead for the long campaign ahead.

“We didn’t get a great deal of time off, we turned up for training and then we were straight into swing of things again,” he said.

“We’ve come over here and played some good football and it’s important now to get back to Scotland, start our preparations for the first game of the season and hit the ground running.”