Scott Brown says it will be the greatest achievement of his Celtic career if the Parkhead club are crowned Ladbrokes Premiership champions in the next few days, and has laughed off suggestions that the title triumph will be “tainted”.
Clubs are expected to rubber-stamp a decision to “call” the season on a points-per-game average, which would see Celtic crowned champions for the ninth year in succession.
Neil Lennon’s dominant side are currently 13 points clear of closest rivals Rangers with eight rounds of fixtures remaining, although the Ibrox club have a game in hand and the two teams are scheduled to meet twice more.
Asked last night in an interview with BT Sport where the title win would rank in his 13-year Celtic career, skipper Brown said: “For us to go for nine in a row and get our hands on that trophy, it is definitely the best season ever.
“When I first signed for Celtic nobody would have expected me to be going for nine in a row and to be captain in the first place. I think when I first signed I was a little bit wild and not captain quality, but I have grown into my responsibilities and enjoyed playing different positions.”
There are Rangers supporters who claim that an asterisk will need to be placed beside Celtic’s ninth title if, as expected, the campaign cannot be finished on the pitch due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Asked what he would say to those fans who brand the title “tainted”, Brown responded: “I’d tell them to come around and see my trophy.”
The 34-year-old added: “Obviously we would have loved to have finished the season, been crowned champions and got the trophy in front of our own fans at Celtic Park but it’s a difficult situation for everyone. We want to play the games.”
Brown was also asked by BT Sport pundit and former Celtic striker Chris Sutton if he would have considered Rangers worthy champions if the shoe had been on the other foot and Steven Gerrard’s men were 13 points clear when the campaign was halted.
The midfielder, taking a dig at Rangers’ wild celebrations following their victory at Parkhead in the last fixture of 2019, said: “It’s a different situation for us. We’re in a strong position, we know we were going to go on and go 13, 16, 19 points clear because we’re a top quality team.
“On the other hand, they came back [after the winter break], they had their opportunity to push on and they didn’t continue their run that they had.
“So I think from my behalf if I was in their situation, yes, I would – especially when the season was already won at the end of December…”
Despite being in the latter stages of his career, Brown said that he was not grateful for the current break from his normally hectic schedule and admitted that it is difficult for players to keep their fitness up during lockdown. “For me, I would have preferred just to keep going,” he said.
“Playing two games a week suits me, I’ve dealt with it for the last 13 years of my career and I’ve got used to it. Now, having this eight weeks off, it has been hard and it will be hard starting up again because you lose that fitness and that sharpness. It’s hard running about the streets and on playing fields compared to training with the first-team lads.”
Odsonne Edouard, James Forrest and Callum McGregor are Brown’s picks for Celtic’s player of the year, and he hopes the fact Edouard has remained in Scotland during lockdown is proof the French striker will want to stay at the club.
“Odsonne has been phenomenal,” said Brown. “He’s still got a contract here and he loves being here.
“He’s still in Glasgow, he had the opportunity to go home and he stayed in Glasgow so it shows you he wants to be here as well which is great for us.”
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