Danny Swanson: Scott Brown’s so influential I wouldn’t mind him playing abroad

Scott Brown insists retirement will follow the completion of the new two-year deal he has elected to sign with Celtic. Danny Swanson believes that even at the age of 34 the Parkhead captain should be working to a five-year retirement plan.

St Johnstone's Danny Swanson competes with Celtic's Scott Brown. Pic: SNS/Rob Casey

Today at McDiarmid Park the St Johnstone midfielder will take part in the second instalment of a three-parter against Celtic spread across 11 days.

“I cannae wait,” Swanson said ruefully.

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The lack of enthusiasm from the diminutive playmaker owes much to his skirmishing with Brown in part 1 on Wednesday night, when the Scottish champions recorded a 2-0 home win over a Tommy Wright side they will face again in Glasgow in the last 16 of the Scottish Cup a week today.

Brown’s dominant display has convinced Swanson that the recurring chat around the Celtic captain in recent months – suggesting he is creaking, that he now slows down and stops Celtic performing with fleetness, and that he is being shown up for a player who wasn’t good enough for the English top flight – is all bogus.

“A lot of people are saying his legs have maybe gone but I guarantee you they’ve not,” said the 32-year-old Perth performer.

“He is a top, top player. That is why he has been here for so long. I know him well and the way he leads them when he is on the pitch is massive. I think it shows the difference for Celtic when he is in the team. Some people say he slows it down but he makes everybody tick. He is a class player.

“Everything has got to be spot on [to get a result against Celtic], but if he starts controlling the game then you have got a problem. You have got guys like [Ryan] Christie and [Callum] McGregor playing off him, it is scary to play against sometimes.

“Personally I think he is still the guy who sets the tone. This season he has been injured at times and they have looked a lot quicker but the way he gets them going, you maybe don’t see it off the pitch, the way he gets a hold of everyone, he definitely brings more to the team when he is in it – compared to when he isn’t in it.

“I honestly don’t think he’s even close yet [to retiring] and that is me being honest. He could play for another five years easily. I know the standard in the league isn’t excellent, and I know people are saying he hasn’t tried England but he is captain of Celtic, why would you?

“People who say he couldn’t play down there haven’t got a clue about football to be honest. I wouldn’t mind him going down there or abroad to be honest... getting rid of him!

“No, I enjoy playing against him, although I didn’t get close to him on Wednesday. My job was to kind of get close to him and I couldn’t. But I will try again on Sunday.”