Celtic captain Scott Brown glad he chose nine-in-a-row bid over Australia move

As well as thinking about what might be to come as Celtic embark on a Premiership campaign that could bring them a ninth straight title, Scott Brown could ponder what might have been.

Scott Brown with the Premiership flag and trophy. Picture: SNS
Scott Brown with the Premiership flag and trophy. Picture: SNS

The Celtic captain isn’t one for deep introspection. Or at least expressing such things in public. The 34-year-old does, though, acknowledge that his decision to reject an offer from new Australian league club Western Melbourne in January to instead remain at a club where he has enjoyed 13 silverware-strewn years is one that might still occasionally turn over in his mind.

The fact that it allowed him to become the first man to lead a Scottish club to a treble treble in the closing weeks of last season might appear to have justified his actions.

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Brown, jokingly, suggests he needs to provide further justification over the coming 10 months – even if his manager Neil Lennon believes he would have regretted leaving behind Glasgow’s footballing hot house the moment he steppped off the flight down under and the searing heat hit him.

Brown said: “It looks pretty warm out there. I’m not sure I would cope with the heat…

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“You look at the pros and cons with these things. The pros at Celtic are winning trophies and being part of this team. I’ve been lucky to be at a fantastic club for so long. There’s also the opportunity to go in at the start of a new club, build it up from nothing and go as far as you could. You look at that as well. At the end of the day I went with my heart more than anything.

“I’ve got so many friends at the club and it’s part of my everyday life. If I went somewhere else I could be sitting in six months and thinking, ‘what have I done?’

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“Yeah, it sounds lovely. The weather’s nice, there’s a golf course... actually, what was I thinking?! Ask me again in December if I’ve made the right decision.

“But, honestly, with everything going on here, winning eight in a row, going for nine, the place is buzzing. We’ll find out in a year if I’ve made the right choice but I believe I was right to go with my heart. It’s a special place to play football. You look at all the changes around the ground since I first came here.

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“It’s incredible what the club’s done in the area, the [charity] Foundation has done really well, there is Billy McNeill and Jimmy Johnstone statues out there. It all means so much to the fans to come up the Celtic Way and see the legends on the flags.”

Brown is one of those. With 19 winners’ medals he is only three shy of the club’s most decorated player – McNeill. The idea that, sometime in the future, he could have his likeness cast in bronze brings a grimace, though.

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“I don’t know about a Scott Brown statue. Could you imagine what it would look like?”

The complexion of the Scottish top flight has been tipped to change this season, with Rangers considered to have the depth of squad to ask questions of a Celtic side who have wrapped up every one of the past eight championships before the final few league games have rolled around

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The Ibrox club have made confident noises about their prospects with on-loan Liverpool winger Sheyi Ojo making the bold claim last week that he had joined Rangers because they were the best team in the country.

Demonstrating a diplomacy that has hardly characterised the combative midfielder’s career, Brown had no appetite yesterday for a nine-in-a-row inspired nip back at the youngster over his pronouncement. Brown is simply satisfied Lennon’s side have made a good early impression in winning all four of their Champions League qualifiers to set-up a trip to Romania for a third round first leg assignment against Cluj, as well as concentrating on the flag day opener against St Johnstone tomorrow.

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Brown added: “We do our talking on the park. We turn up and we win games, It’s a long season and you don’t want to peak too early. We have started well in the Champions League, but there’s still a lot more to come from us. What we have done in the past three years is because we haven’t thought about winning the league 10 months down the line.”