Perhaps it is harsh to judge Brown, who at one stage was mocked by his long-time adversary in the fixture, Alfredo Morelos, on an encounter wherein Celtic were forced to play with 10-men for 66 minutes following the loss of the veteran’s midfielder partner Callum McGregor to a red card for two bookable offences.
Yet in his 44th appearance in the confrontation - which leaves him with a 50% win record - he did not appear the commanding presence of old. He looked off the pace even in his one-to-one battles, and it was no surprise to see him replaced by Ismaila Soro after an hour. Brown’s personality may be as strong as ever behind the scenes, but he cannot always marry that to powerhouse showings in the most pressurised games that Celtic play, as was true as he suffered a 16th defeat in the match-up.
Brown patently did not simply fade away as a player at Celtic who has helped his team to 21 honours, with nine straight championships and a quadruple treble across his epic 14 years with the club. The last of which has left the entire Celtic community, never mind their leader, utterly burned.
Typical of Brown that as he lamented a season for failure against Rangers - the Ibrox side now unbeaten in six for the first time since 2002 - the personal was not his focus.
“It’s not about me, it’s about the team ultimately and it has been throughout,” he said. “There have been ups and downs but this is definitely a low blow for us. We’ve come here and had some fantastic games and today we didn’t deserve 4-1 but it’s hard when you go down to ten men as well. The lads fought, the effort was there, it was just always going to be a hard performance with 10 men for 65 minutes.
“It’s been a hard season and it was a hard game as well but Celtic will be back next season. It’s a hard game for the fans but we are as disappointed as much as they are. We are sorry for letting them down over the whole season because this was supposed to be our showcase season and it wasn’t to be.
“We’ve struggled to score goals as a team [against Rangers] and defensively, pressing from the front, we’ve not done as well as we probably should throughout the whole team. I have to take responsibility for that as well because I’m the captain on the park. It’s not just John Kennedy it’s everyone together, we take the responsibility as well and we’re not shying away from that. I’m sad to be going, but it’s the right time for me.
"It’s a huge fixture, Rangers versus Celtic, and I’ve enjoyed them. I’ve had some great memories in them as well and some disappointing ones. From now on it’s about me going to Aberdeen next season and hopefully coming back and challenging as well. I’ve got two games left at Celtic and I need to make the most of them.”