‘Mature’ Scott Brown won’t rise to bait, says Celtic boss

Celtic captain Scott Brown has been hailed by his manager for his maturity. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS

Celtic captain Scott Brown has been hailed by his manager for his maturity. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS

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Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is condifdent Scott Brown will rise above any provocation that could come his way as the Scottish champions host Rangers at lunchtime today in the first league derby between the sides for four years.

Brown has already been baited publicly by Rangers’ opinionated midfielder Joey Barton – and chose to bite back after the Englishman said the Celtic captain was “not in his league”.

08/09/16     RANGERS TRAINING     THE RANGERS FOOTBALL CENTRE - GLASGOW     Rangers' Joey Barton

08/09/16 RANGERS TRAINING THE RANGERS FOOTBALL CENTRE - GLASGOW Rangers' Joey Barton

That sniping has set up the meeting of the pair as a subplot that has the potential to steal all the focus as the country’s biggest two clubs prepare to lock horns again.

Rodgers, though, is convinced that the combative Brown will retain his composure in what always threatens to be a combustible fixture.

“I think he has shown great discipline,” the Celtic manager said of a man he has described as a true “warrior”.

“What you see now with Scott is a 31-year-old man with maturity. A guy who understands the consequence of what happens on the field. And has now matured to a new level.

“You have seen it many a time over the years, that a guy who is really aggressive when they are younger, full of beans, competitive, and as they mature they learn how to handle that a wee bit better.

“That is what I see in Scott. His performances have been a really really high level and he is a real driving force in the team. He knows his responsibility when he is in the team.”

Top scorer Leigh Griffiths remains a doubt for Celtic. The striker had a scan on a hamstring injury which kept him out of Scotland’s World Cup qualifying win over Malta on Sunday and is being monitored. Moussa Dembele is expected to start up front if Griffiths fails to make it.

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