CELTIC captain Scott Brown has scoffed at talk of a mounting crisis at the club, insisting their current situation does not even begin to compare to the difficulties he experienced during Tony Mowbray’s managerial tenure.
Mowbray was sacked after just eight ill-starred months in charge, culminating in a disastrous 4-0 league defeat at St Mirren in March 2009.
“I’ve heard the word crisis used over the past few days,” said Brown as he analysed the fall-out from Celtic’s 2-1 defeat to Aberdeen at Pittodrie on Saturday.
“But listen, I had Tony Mowbray as a manager – that was a crisis. We’re playing well now but back then we weren’t playing any football whatsoever and the crowds were down to 15,000-20,000.
“That was an extremely hard situation but this isn’t even close to that. This is one defeat. It’s not an issue. Teams lose, it’s about how you come back physically and mentally. We’ve got to keep ourselves and the fans going.
“We have won four titles in a row and we didn’t achieve that by becoming depressed for the rest of the season after one defeat. We’re very strong mentally and can come back from these setbacks.
“You can’t take defeat lightly at Celtic and we owe it to our fans to perform every week. I don’t think our performance was bad at Aberdeen. It wasn’t good enough, although still enough for a point in my opinion. We were a little bit unlucky right at the end but we’re mentally very strong and we’re going to put a run together and start playing as well as we possibly can and show the Scottish Premiership and Europa League how good we are.
“We need to perform to a better level than we did on Saturday. We can’t expect just to turn up and win games. We need eleven people on the park doing their best.”
Brown believes Celtic will take time to adjust to the departure of defender Virgil van Dijk, sold to Southampton for £13 million on transfer deadline day, but believes they can rise to the challenge against Ajax in tonight’s Europa League Group A opener in Amsterdam.
“I think people sometimes forget the loss of Virgil,” added Brown. “A lot is made of the transfer fee and when you leave Scotland for that amount of money, then it says everything.
“The way Virgil played for us last season was exceptional, so, of course, he’s going to be a miss, but that’s where we have to work together as a team, become better and defend better at set plays and create more chances.
“We’ve watched Ajax a few times in the last few days and from what we’ve seen so far of them, their style of football and quality of the players they have stands out. This is the kind of game we’d want after the defeat to Aberdeen.”