Broony, Brendan’s ‘remarkable leader’, our winning captain

There will be no changing of the guard any time soon. No removal of Scottish football’s lynchpin from his hundred mile-high pedestal. Pretenders to his throne haven’t even earned the position of clown prince – they will have to earn the right to lace his boots before they can fill them. He is the country’s ultimate midfield dynamo and captain fantastic… the ringleader of the tormentors.

His name adorns the hoops in gold leaf, and it is through a golden haze that today’s Celtic supporters will look back on the life and times of Scott Brown.

Those who bemoan the lack of Scottish football ‘hard men’ in one breath seem happy to decry the quality of our game in the next. Brown’s performances, particularly under Brendan Rodgers, have unequivocally demonstrated that he is infinitely more than Celtic’s on-call clubber. That description is lazy journalism, petulant Leveinism, and does the player a massive disservice (his last red card for club or country was over 60 games ago).

Sure, many have vowed to go toe-to-toe with Celtic’s midfield general. English football’s soi-disant philosopher, Joey Barton, was rendered a rudderless, empty vessel after a single steely-eyed stare. The one-cap wonder was last seen twitching periodically, whilst scuttling out of Auchenhowie clutching on to a Dolce Gusto.

Before him there was the bloviating challenge of sneering, spitting, Senegalese El Hadji Diouf. This article (copyright: Phil Differ, 2017) had the audacity to return to Celtic Park having once grogged on one of Brown’s fellow Fife natives during a match between Celtic and Liverpool. The death of this circus was swift, and it gave birth to Celtic’s very own Cristo Redentor.

‘The Broony’ – as Celtic fans prefer to call it – and his more recent Pittodrie swagger have only served to endear the player even further into the hearts of a fan base that he wasn’t part of as a youngster. Word around family and friends in Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay is that he was a bonafide Hibbee in his younger days.

A former Leith lodger of then Hibs’ team-mate Kevin Thomson – a rambunctious affair by all accounts – Brown was part of a generation when every Easter Road egg that was laid had a golden hue. The list is startling: Derek Riordan, Steven Fletcher, Garry O’Connor, Steven Whittaker, and the aforementioned Thomson. Yet, Brown has gone on to win far more international caps and trophies than any of his impressive list of contemporaries.

On the subject of honours won, anyone with a suspicion that the author of this piece is intoxicated with hagiography, should take a glance at Brown’s personal roll-call: 17 major domestic gongs (one with Hibs); 55 international caps; over 450 appearances for Celtic (including most European games for the club); second only to Billy McNeill in the list of most trophies won as Celtic captain; and (if you will allow me the presumption) only the second Celtic captain to lead his team to seven consecutive league titles.

If Brown’s two seasons with Ronnie Deila will be harshly remembered for kebab-gate, then his subsequent two years under the tutelage of Brendan Rodgers have had the hint of ‘abrakebabra’ about them.

Rodgers has hailed his on-field colonel as, “a remarkable leader,” and this was never more evident than in the recent Glasgow Derby at Ibrox. The requiem writers, those ravenous few who continue to write-off Scott Brown, should look back at the footage of his focussed gaze during Celtic’s pre-match huddle. Hanging on every word, his team-mates implicitly trust their leader, who has done more than most to ensure that the club have recaptured their rapture over the last two seasons. No-one in Scotland inspires and influences his onfield compatriots as much as Brown.

At 2-1 down against Rangers, observe the crucial pass to Dembélé that dragged his side back on level terms for the second time in the game. If the same through-ball was screened on Match of the Day, the commentators would benchmark it with the superlatives it deserved. In the week following this performance, I heard Brown’s assist being described by one of our own hacks as a “punt”.

Before Šimunović had even left the field of play following his sending-off, notice how Brendan Rodgers swiftly and succinctly instructed his captain. Brown’s overall performance was demonstrative of a man at the peak of his powers.

After the final whistle, his embrace with captain’s apprentice, Kieran Tierney, was followed by another iconic Brown moment when he adorned a pair of shades, which had been thrown from the crowd as he celebrated in front of the Broomloan Stand. In summing up the noise being generated from Ibrox in the week leading up to this victory, Brown retorted, “We usually do our talking on the park.”

It would better suit many managers within Scottish football to follow Scott Brown’s example, and keep a far more dignified counsel.

The condemnation of Brown for the part he played in the sending-off of Motherwell’s Cédric Kipré was nothing short of ludicrous. Three opposing managers (Pedro Caixinha, Craig Levein and Stephen Robinson) have now felt an entitlement to personally take Celtic’s captain to task this season. It would seem that Brown is fair game.

Instead of discussing the stupidity of Kipré for kicking out at the Celtic captain before seeing red, Sky Sports’ co-commentator twice called Brown’s reaction, “Pathetic.” Back in the studio at half-time, serial big-match bottler, Derek McIness, felt it necessary to twice call the referee’s decision, “An injustice.”

McInnes would do well to refer to Kipré’s potentially leg-breaking tackle on Moussa Dembélé in this season’s League Cup final, and Ryan Bowman’s horrific stamp on Kieran Tierney’s knee last season – both of which were deemed acceptable – before entering into a discussion on the realms of demanding justice.

33-years-old in June, Scott Brown today enjoyed what is a real rarity in this modern age at Celtic Football Club – a testimonial match. He did it the day after he skippered Celtic to back to back trebles.

Like Gerrard has at Liverpool, Brown has been involved in coaching youth players at Lennoxtown, and his transition into the coaching setup at Celtic Park would continue the club’s return to their famous boot-room days of old. If this materialises in the coming years, then Brown would be joining several ex-Celts behind-the-scenes, including Shaun Maloney, John Kennedy, Danny McGrain, John Clark and Tosh McKinlay.

Brown, though, will only be happy to hang up his captain’s armband once Celtic’s run of consecutive league titles has eclipsed the Scottish record of nine. If he can achieve that over the next three years then I’d challenge anyone to argue that Scott Brown is anything less than Scottish football’s poster boy for meritocracy.

Paul John Dykes


Today, thousands will attend Celtic Park to pay tribute to our captain and our leader. Good time to share this with you. How Broony felt yesterday and has felt 16 times in his Celtic career. 

Time to stop dancing: the jig of joy.

Time to take your triumphant teammates –

weary legged, but ecstatic,

up the stadium stairs,

or onto a hastily built podium.

A walk of glory

to look at himself in the curved silver

shining like a full moon

on a calm sea,

green and white ribbons, neatly tied,

fluttering in the sunlight,

glimmering in the floodlight,

as he lifts the cup,

to the sound of celebration,

that has changed over the years.

Caps and sticks in the air,

cards in hats,

joyus cheers,

confetti cannons,

fireworks that shake the stadiums foundations.

The emotion has never changed,

no matter if Glasgow or Lisbon,

the first, second or last,

history inscribed into silver,

the chapter closes, with you, always

a winning captain.   

Podcast News!

As you may know The Celtic Star Podcast – A Celtic State of Mind made it through to the final of the prestigious Football Blogging Awards in London last night and was up against some stiff competition from the English Premier League and Championship sides.

Remarkably though The Celtic Star won the big prize and is now officially the UK’s Football Podcast of the Year for 2018. It seems to be a big deal with the media down south as the guys have been doing interviews all day. Heard nothing from the MSM up here though!

Thanks to everyone who has sent over their congratulations last night and today, the team are genuinely delighted with the award and overwhelmed by the support that The Celtic Star podcast has received. So to everyone from wee Jay and his dad to Tony Hamilton at Celtic FC and the many hundreds of supporters who have been in touch, thank you.

Here’s a wee video that will let you see Paul John Dykes collecting the award. We hope you enjoy it. And it’s not too late to get your Beautiful Sunday t-shirt in green or white…

Have you got one of these? Beautiful Sunday should be celebrated all summer long…

The latest podcast is out now- it’s part 2 of the brilliant interview with Celtic’s SLO John Paul Taylor where he selects the games and the soundtracks of his own personal Celtic journey. Loved his memories of the 4-2 game in the first part of his interview. Here’s the latest instalment from the UK’s Football podcast of the year…

Listen to “John Paul Taylor with A Celtic State of Mind (Part 2/3)” on Spreaker.

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email

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