Ryan Christie: Scott Brown can again prove doubters wrong at Celtic

Ryan Christie believes Celtic captain Scott Brown is proving his doubters wrong yet again and remains the best ball-winning midfielder in Scottish football.
Celtic captain Scott Brown has agreed a new deal with the club. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNSCeltic captain Scott Brown has agreed a new deal with the club. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS
Celtic captain Scott Brown has agreed a new deal with the club. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS

Brown, pictured, has signed a new two-year contract with the Scottish champions, ending speculation he was set to call time on his career at the club and accept a lucrative offer to move to Western Melbourne in Australia.

The 33-year-old looked back to his best on Wednesday night as Celtic stretched their lead at the top of the Premiership to six points with a 2-0 home win over St Johnstone.

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Doubts had been raised over Brown’s continuing place at the heart of Brendan Rodgers’ side when he was sidelined by injuries earlier in the season, while in his absence Christie and Callum McGregor thrived on the added responsibility they had in midfield.

But Christie, who scored his ninth goal of the campaign for Celtic against Saints after McGregor had opened the scoring, insists Brown’s influence is undiminished in a side who are collectively recovering their optimum form.

“It’s not the first time Broony has been written off,” said Christie. “He keeps coming back and proving people wrong. When he was out earlier in the season, a few people questioned whether he would make it back into the team but since the winter break he has been superb.

“He breaks up the play and that’s important because when teams come to Celtic Park we like to be relentless in our attack and keep them under pressure. So you need someone in the middle of the park who will keep winning the ball for you and Broony does that probably better than anyone else.

“For me, it’s just brilliant to be part of the midfield in this team. Callum has been superb for us as well, whatever position he’s asked to play in.

“Obviously when Broony was out earlier in the season, he had to drop into the holding role and you saw his quality and his range of passing there. He steps onto the play to make that change so quickly.

“He’s also such a goal threat. He’s just going from strength to strength right now and it makes my job playing beside him in midfield pretty easy. I’m lucky to have Callum and Broony playing beside me.”

Christie feels Celtic have rediscovered the perfect balance in their side since returning to action after the winter break, racking up four straight home wins in the Scottish Cup and Premiership without conceding a goal.

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“We’ve opened up a bit of daylight now at the top of the league and that’s huge for us,” added the 23-year-old. “It was something we talked about during the break when we knew we had the run of home games coming.

“Of course, we can still get caught if we take our foot off the gas. We knew how important it was to win that game in hand against St Johnstone but the last thing we want to do now is rest on our laurels. It’s all about Sunday next and St Johnstone again at McDiarmid Park.”