It is May 2007 since he last did that, as a Hibs player just before he moved to Glasgow’s east end in a £4.4m deal that paved the way for Brown to claim 22 honours and become Celtic’s second most decorated captain after Lisbon Lion Billy McNeill.
The decision to accept a two-year player-coach deal to be part of a new era at Aberdeen under Stephen Glass - Brown’s old Easter Road team-mate and close friend - means this scene is about to be played out in the not-too-distant future. The 35-year-old midfielder may have made his peace with ending his playing relationship with a club for whom he has been the squad heartbeat, but that doesn’t mean he has entirely got his head straight on all his surprise switch entails.
“I’ve never really thought about playing against Celtic – I will be now…” said Brown. “I’m still under contract at Celtic and I’ll need to make sure I’m fit and available for every game to make sure we have a good finish to the season. We’ve got a huge game against Falkirk [on Saturday] and we need to get into the next round of the Scottish Cup. The sad thing is I won’t get to say my goodbyes in front of 60,000 fans. They’ve been a huge part of my journey over these last 14 years and I’ve got a lot of love for them. I wouldn’t be here winning trophies without them. This season has been hard for everyone, and we’ve certainly found it hard having no fans in the ground. It has just shown what the fans bring to Celtic Park.”
When he plays at the stadium the next time it houses supporters, almost all will hope he fails. Not that there won’t be affection for the midfield marshall in red. He can’t know just what the split will be between the forever grateful and those that will feel spurned and prepared to dish it out to a new rival. “I’ll worry about that when it happens,” Brown said. “I’m sad I can’t say goodbye right now but I’m sure they understand the situation. I’ve had some lovely messages on social media and it’s been much appreciated. I’m sorry I can’t get back to them all but it’s been great. I’ve had 14 fantastic years and wouldn’t change it for the world.”
His more immediate concern going into next season will be getting onside an Aberdeen support that contains factions not ready to forgive Brown for the many brouhahas he has been involved in with them and their team. “It doesn’t matter where you go, you always need to win over the fans. I did that at Hibs and Celtic. Whenever I cross that white line I always give 110 percent,” he said. “I want to win games of football and I enjoy the challenge. I’m sure there’s still a few Hibs and Celtic fans who don’t appreciate the way I play or the way I go about my business. But as long as I work hard and do my talking on the park, I don’t need to worry about the rest.”