Scott Brown says Celtic's Hampden display was an 18 month high and showed players have Neil Lennon's "back"

Celtic captain Scott Brown has claimed Celtic’s first half display in the Scottish Cup semi-final win over Aberdeen was “probably the best we’ve played in a year and a half” and showed a team fully behind manager Neil Lennon.

Scott Brown leaps on Ryan Christie as he goes wild over the attacker's sublime opener in the Scottish Cup semi-final that the Celtic captain believes set up a best 45 minutes in a year and a half (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

The heat turned on the Irishman following four games without a win was off the scale but Brown believes that the semi-final success that has moved the club to within one game of a quadruple treble shows the cool class of team

“I think the first half today’s probably the best performance we’ve had in about a year and a half, being perfectly honest,” he said. “We controlled the game, we dictated the play for 45 minutes and created some great chances as well as scoring two goals. Our football was great, one touch-two touch stuff and we opened up a very strong Aberdeen team.

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“That performance was for the manager and hopefully that’s a little bit of pressure off his back. We’re all together in there. He’s got our back, no matter what, and we’ve got his back. He’s a strong character, he knows what it’s all about, he’s been through it all as a player and as a manager here. He knows what it takes. It’s basically about winning games at this club. At times it’s not about playing great, attractive football, it’s about the three points or getting to a cup final. But today was a great performance and showed everybody how good we can play.”

And Brown gave his backing to Shane Duffy too following the flak the on-loan Brighton defender has taken for performances over the past month, with the Celtic captain overlooking his struggles in maintaining the 28-year-old has been “doing it week in, week out” for his boyhood club.

“He was brilliant against Aberdeen, just exceptional, with the ball, with his defending and keeping a good line for us,” said the midfielder. “We all know he can do it. He keeps doing it week in week out for us. There’s always going to be criticism, people always want to have a go at us. We’re strong enough and ugly enough to deal with that, and we just batter away. That’s why we keep doing this. That’s what our long cup successes have been all about and we want more.”


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