The Parkhead captain was successful last week in overturning a two-game ban and a charge of “not acting in the best interests of association football” following the chaotic scenes in the aftermath of Celtic’s 2-1 win over Rangers at the end of March after he had celebrated the victory in front of the visiting supporters.
Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos was sent off for elbowing Brown in the face during the game while on-loan Ibrox midfielder Ryan Kent later lost an appeal against a two-game suspension for lashing out at the Celtic midfielder.
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard served a one-game ban for post-match comments made to referee Bobby Madden following the tumultuous finale to the game and while there were accusations aimed at Brown that he was the catalyst for the post-match brawl, the 33-year-old has rebuffed any suggestion that he was out of line.
“Every pundit, punter and ex-assistant managers as well tried to have a little go at me so that was nice,” he said. “I don’t think I did anything really wrong. For me, I spoke to the [club’s] lawyer and he was happy to go forward with it and I spoke to Peter [Lawwell, Celtic’s chief executive] as well. The SFA had to do something about it but they were happy enough at the end of the day that I didn’t overstep the mark. I walked away. I got smacked in the face and punched and I stood up and I walked away from when it was all going on, because somebody is usually looking to blame me so I made sure I stayed well clear of it all.”
There was a telling moment, too, in Brown’s reaction to the furore that followed the game: “If people hate me it puts a smile on my face. It must mean I’m either playing well or I’m noising somebody up in the wrong way.
“I don’t care [if people say it’s not befitting of a Celtic captain]. I think for me I celebrated with my team-mates and a fight kicked off and I walked away from it. Somebody elbowed me in the face and I walked away from it. Somebody punched me in the face and I walked away from it. If I was a hooligan I’d have started a brawl in the middle of the pitch. But I just walked away from it all, I didn’t want to get myself booked or suspended. I think I acted quite well on the day.”
Brown also revealed that in the wake of Rangers’ win over Celtic at the end of December the celebrations of the Ibrox players extended to the tunnel and dressing room areas. Rangers midfielder Scott Arfield was pictured doing a mock ‘Broony’ celebration in front of the Celtic captain with Brown shrugging off the incidents as he professed a willingness to take whatever he gives out.
“I had people jumping over me at Ibrox the last time,” said the Celtic captain. “I took it on the chin, I walked away. Each to their own. They did well – they managed to beat us at the end of December. They celebrated and I just walked down the tunnel and whatever happened when they came down the tunnel, celebrating and shouting, I just walked into the changing rooms. Each to their own, they celebrate, I celebrate. But we won and went 11 points clear and they obviously didn’t like the way we were celebrating. We all respected that they were celebrating and they wanted to enjoy themselves. They caught up with us on points, although we had a game in hand.”
As he enters the twilights years of his career, its unlikely Brown will conduct himself any differently as Celtic head to Ibrox next Sunday.
“What would be the point?” he said. “Let’s be honest. I have done not bad. I think I have had five red cards since coming to Celtic in almost 600 games. There are a lot of people with worst records and I seem to get the blame for most things. I take a lot but all I have done is celebrate with the Celtic fans after the game and if they can give it out for 90 minutes I am sure they can take it back for ten seconds.”
Celtic need a point against Aberdeen on Saturday to win the title.