Christophe Berra has urged Scott Brown to tone down the cockiness and claimed the Celtic midfielder’s behaviour at the final whistle of Saturday’s Scottish Cup final would not happen at “top-level clubs like Manchester City and Liverpool”.
This criticism seemed particularly pointed coming as it did from Brown’s fellow skipper. Hearts defender Berra revealed the pair did not even shake hands at the end of Celtic’s 2-1 victory over the Tynecastle side at Hampden Park.
Rather than immediately celebrate his side’s historic treble treble achievement or console the opposition players, Brown chose to square up to Hearts’ Uche Ikpeazu and Steven MacLean. He ended up being booked by referee Willie Collum while most of his team-mates were celebrating elsewhere on the pitch and manager Neil Lennon was shaking hands with opposite number Craig Levein. Berra suggested it was a squalid way to mark what is a historic achievement.
The Hearts skipper, whose side had given Celtic a guard of honour before their meeting at Parkhead six days earlier, clearly expected better from his former Scotland team-mate.
“Scott is a good player but he is using his dominance in the league a wee bit and there is a wee bit of cockiness,” he said. “They [Celtic] have earned it but sometimes you should just show a bit of respect and get on with it.
“Scott is getting a bad name for himself at some points. It is not classy and you don’t see that happening at the top level at clubs like Manchester City and Liverpool who dominate down there. They have a bit of class about them. He [Scott] has had it all his own way for a long time and all credit to him, he is a good player and the team have done well, but sometimes you can be a bit more classy and a sportsman.”
Berra revealed he and Brown had not even shaken hands “because I didn’t know what was happening between him and Uche”.
He added: “It’s typical and has gone on a lot this season. It is not for me, I wouldn’t be like that but everyone is different. He is using his position to his advantage. You don’t see it happening in other leagues because you should show a bit of respect and get on with it.”
The Hearts skipper said it was fortunate Bobby Madden, one of the additional assistant referees, had intervened in the dispute between the lofty Ikpeazu, a 78th minute substitute, and Brown. “There would only be one winner!” he said. “It is okay doing it when things are going well. They [Celtic] have been used to having things their own way. They have a bigger budget than everyone else, pay more money and so it is normal they are more successful, but what can you do?”
Meanwhile, Zdenek Zlamal has revealed Collum said “he didn’t care” who had touched Odsonne Edouard to send the player crashing to the ground for the second-half penalty that got Celtic back into the game.
The Hearts goalkeeper was adamant he had not made contact with the striker just after the hour mark, with Berra also in close attendance. The referee nevertheless pointed to the spot. “I have to say I didn’t touch him [Edouard],” said Zlamal. “It wasn’t a penalty. The referee decided it was a penalty but for me I’m 100 per cent sure I didn’t touch him.
“I asked the referee who gave away the penalty because I didn’t touch him. He said he didn’t care. Afterwards, I touched the ball a little bit when I should have saved it. That’s football. It’s about small details.”
Zlamal added that Edouard had done what a striker has to do by winning the penalty. But he stressed it was an attempt to hoodwink the referee and one which worked. “I don’t care about him [Edouard],” he said. “He did his job but that was simulation. I don’t like that but that’s part of the game. The referee has to see that. There’s another referee behind the goal. They have to be 100 per cent sure it’s a penalty but I don’t think he could be sure.”