Scott Brown: A Worthy Celtic Captain?

by Johnny Connelly

Back in 2007, then Scotland Under-21 coach Rainer Bonhof warned that Scott Brown, despite his obvious talent, “needs to be calmed to avoid disciplinary problems”.

Almost seven years on, the German’s words seem to have gone unheeded.

On the one hand, Scott Brown displays all the qualities of a world-beater. He’s 110% committed, is full of pace, tackles hard, will run all night for his team, has an infectious personality, and presents a considerable attacking threat.

Sadly, there’s more.  There’s a seemingly unshakeable petulance too. So severe is this negative aspect of Brown’s play that it’s undermining his ability, so much so that some Hoops fans are beginning to wonder if the dynamic midfielder is even fit to wear the captain’s armband.

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Moment of madness: Brown kicks out at Neymar

Frustration, disappointment and anger resonated around Celtic Park in midweek when Scott Brown, in a moment of madness, foolishly swiped at Neymar, resulting in a straight red card, and the disintegration of any hopes Celtic had of taking any points from the Catalan giants.

Until that point, in keeping with Brown’s Jekyll and Hyde behaviour, the Scotsman was one of the best Celts on the park. His tireless running and positional discipline made life difficult for Barca. Celtic were always facing the improbable, but when Brown lashed out, the improbable became impossible.

Given the importance of the Barcelona match, surely a failing on the part of the captain in this way should set alarm bells ringing in Neil Lennon’s head. The role of captain at any club is a great honour, and is usually bestowed upon only those with the utmost levels of integrity and ability to lead the team on all fronts. Can you imagine the likes of Paul McStay, Tom Boyd, or Danny McGrain kicking out at Neymar in such a prestigious match? It just wouldn’t have happened.

This, when added to Brown’s back catalogue of petulant bookings and repeatedly taking the bait when befaced with a confrontational scenario surely makes his tenure as captain questionable. Impressive performances and a gutsy swagger will get you far, but there’s more to it when it comes to being handed the captain’s armband at a big club.

Lennon must know in his heart of hearts that Brown’s behaviour is unacceptable. Barca match aside, Brown’s name has been thrown in to match reports in Europe for negative aspects in Celtic’s two other big European games so far this season. Another petulant foul against Shahktar Karagandy, and a clumsy, off the ball incident against AC Milan (leading to the deciding goal), add to and underline the question marks around Brown’s professionalism.

It is understandable that Lennon doesn’t criticise his players in a brazen manner, but from his comments about the Brown incident, it seems as though he genuinely believes the player’s actions were justifiable.

The likes of Giorgios Samaras could fill in nicely as captain, and is debatably a better candidate. It’s clear that Celtic can’t afford a liability in the Champions League. They may get away with silly fouls and sloppy play against SPFL opposition, given the gulf in class between Celtic and the rest of the pack; but in the Champions League, Neil Lennon’s men are invariably the underdog, and would be punished for handing the opposition any ill-gotten advantage.

Brown is a terrific player, but how long are the fans and the manager expected to put up with reckless behaviour? The Hoops captain isn’t a budding, raw, rough around the edges project anymore. He’s a grown man, he’s the captain of Celtic, and Scotland.

Now’s the time to start acting like a captain.

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3 Replies to “Scott Brown: A Worthy Celtic Captain?”

  1. Can really put into words my thoughts on this article but I’ll give it a go “WHAT A LOAD OF P*SH” I’ve watched many Celtic Captains being sent off, mainly for trying to lump players into the back row of the stand. The greatest captain I ever got to see on a regular basis was Big Roy, he wasn’t above having a wee kick, block off the ball or trying to punch the f*ckin head off an opponent ! Brown made an error of judgement & was caught. End of. Sammy for Captain? No harm to the guy but have you listened to him talking? The dressing room would be well rested b4 matches as he would send them to sleep! Brown shows pride & passion along with a big personality, just what I would want leading my team out. Until we sign a new leader he will do for me

  2. Oh Come on! Brooneys cleaned up his game in a big way in the last couple of seasons so don’t pretend he’s incapable of learning. Neil lennon is a sharp cookie & Gordon Strachan likewise but happens also to manage the national team & both believe in him.
    You can see from the pic the ref is already reaching for the card which he decides to exchange for a red. The harsh reality is that teams of the ilk of Barca will always insist that they require protection from small league cloggers and refs are only too happy to oblige. The sickening fact that the so called good teams are dirtier & way more cynical is lost in the heat of battle as they flatter to deceive in their style of play(therefore they do not get pulled for many a foul). But the real chink in our armour is that we do not play the ref.
    Can you imagine Scott Brown reacting like Neymar did to the merest skiff on his arm? Would you respect him if he had? It was loathsome & dispicable to see Neymars face contort like it did (pointed directly at the ref!! not bad awareness when your in agony!) but it worked! Up until that moment of shame, when acting took a part in an otherwise competitive & captivating game there was no way to tell how the game would unfold. Celtic defended very well up until then & at the time were in the ascendency but we forgot about their ways! When you look at all that team even the big burly hard central defenders will go down . . .at the right time. It is all worked out, calculated for gain, it is a weapon they use. If there is a problem to address it is that we must learn to do more than keep out of the refs radar, we must learn to use the ref, just like the cheats. Brooney made a mistake but in all aspects he fits the bill for Celtic Captain, he took his eye off the ball, he forgot the individual on the ground lacked any dignity or honour but he will never forget being tricked like that. By the time he has captained our team in another couple of european campaigns this boy will be a man with massive experience & dare I say it class & clout. Neil Lennon has shown . . . & by that I mean PROVED he is no fool, if that man sees something of himself on Scott then I am happy to follow & I believe the future will be (eventually) beautiful with Broony!

  3. The thought of Scott Brown posing a considerable attacking threat is laughable, his creativity is shocking. Furthermore he is one of the most boring individuals I’ve heard interviewed post matches in a long while (I hope his team talks are slightly better). He shows immaturity around the training ground, setting a poor example for the rest of the team. Since when did commitment on the pitch offer the opportunity to captain your team, surely that’s the least you expect from a player. His childishness against Neymar was a reflection of his attitude and ability. He fouled him then swung the most pathetic kick at him, WHAT A COWARD. I’d prefer a player with a bit of class and intelligence. For me, Mulgrew deserves the armband, the most improved player in that team by far, he’s going in the right direction.

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