What Rangers boss Steven Gerrard had to say on Celtic captain Scott Brown's 'surprise' departure

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has expressed his surprise at Celtic captain Scott Brown’s imminent move to Aberdeen and admits next season’s Old Firm occasions will miss the midfielder’s combative presence.

Departing Celtic captain Scott Brown has been widely praised for his show of solidarity with Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara before the last Old Firm match on March 21. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

Brown will make his 43rd appearance in the famous fixture at Ibrox on Sunday as the veteran midfielder bids to sign off his Celtic career with another Scottish Cup success.

The 35-year-old would never win any popularity contests among the Rangers fans but Gerrard has no qualms in conveying his own admiration of Brown’s achievements over the course of a 14-year career amid the intense scrutiny which comes with representing one of the Glasgow giants.

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“He is someone I have got respect for, from a football point of view and for what he has achieved in the game,” said Gerrard ahead of the Scottish Cup fifth round tie between the great foes.

Rival captains Steven Gerrard and Scott Brown in action during the friendly match between England and Scotland at Wembley in 2013. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

“To be that successful and how he has gone about things – if I take my Rangers hat off, it’s something I respect very much because I know how hard it is to win in football.

“I think the Old Firm fixture will miss him. Of course it will. Not just him, there are many players over the years who have played their part in the derby game from an Old Firm point of view.

“Many a Rangers player, many a Celtic player – once they do move on, the game will feel different. That’s credit to what they have brought and contributed to that fixture over the years.”

Asked if Rangers were happy their biggest rivals will no longer have Brown in their ranks next season when he joins Aberdeen as player-assistant manager, Gerrard indicated he feels the former Scotland captain would still be capable of performing influentially for Celtic.

“It’s not really important whether we are glad to see the back of him,” said Gerrard. “It is what it is, he has made his decision.

“He will move to Aberdeen. I was surprised by the decision from a personal point of view, but that’s not important to anyone, is it really?

“It is what it is. He still has a couple of Old Firms to play in and our job is to focus on what happens here at Rangers.

“The decision is made and he will move on to another team and a new challenge.”

Touch of class

Brown also earned Gerrard’s esteem with his conduct before the most recent Old Firm match at Celtic Park when he made a point of publicly showing his support to Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara in the aftermath of the Finnish international being racially abused by Slavia Prague defender Ondrej Kudela.

Amid the widespread backing Kamara received from the Scottish football community and beyond, Brown’s gesture of running across to greet the Rangers player and put his arm around him was one of the simplest yet most powerful statements.

“I think it was a real class touch from Scott, I must say,” said Gerrard. “I think there are things that are bigger than football. When it comes down to life and certain things that happen in life. It was a real class touch what he did.”

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