You doubt, we’ll dominate. That was how Celtic captain Scott Brown summed up a derby triumph that came in the wake of predictions that behind-the-scenes upheaval at the club could make them vulnerable when Steven Gerrard’s renewed Rangers came calling.
The last-gasp Moussa Dembele transfer capped a chaotic window for a club that have been presented as suffering at least a mini crisis because of developments during the period.
Brendan Rodgers failed to attract the four reinforcements he considered necessary. Moreover, for so long the Scottish football agenda was consumed by the fall-out of Dedryck Boyata allegedly making himself unavailable for a decisive, and lost, Champions League qualifier because he was not allowed to move to Fulham.
Brown believes all such chat of teetering title holders might want to be parked after how they performed in the 1-0 win over city rivals expected to provide their greatest obstacle to landing an eighth straight championship but whom they have now beaten ten times across a 12-game sequence without defeat during the Rodgers era.
“It was always going to be a big build-up but we didn’t pay much attention to it,” said the 32-year-old. “We came here and knew what we needed to do in front of 60,000 Celtic fans and we did our talking on the pitch yet again.
“We have got quality all over the park. We believe if we turn up we can beat anyone – especially at Celtic Park. We’ve beaten them here and over at Ibrox. It is about what we do from now on. It’s not about Rangers. It’s about how well we play. We played well and could have scored a few more goals had it not been for Allan McGregor – I thought he was terrific today.
“They were a bit leggy because they had been away from home in Europe and they didn’t really want to press us. They let us dictate the game and we pretty much controlled it for 90 minutes.
“They had one shot on goal in the whole game but it was all about us and that is credit to everyone in our dressing room. Everyone has been trying to knock us down but we stick together and we are a great team.
“We have a great spirit in our dressing room – no matter what anybody says. People have said we haven’t been but honestly we’ve been in great spirits.
“There are always going to be little bumps on your ship when you are moving along. It is all about how you bounce back and we have bounced back stronger and fitter than everyone. The way we came into this game we dictated from start to finish and that shows team spirit is very strong here.”
The Celtic captain maintained the loss of Dembele was accepted as a fact of life at Celtic. “It is a big football club and there is always going to be chat about people leaving and others coming in especially with the team playing so well,” he said.
“People are going to put bids in because our players have done exceptionally well for this club over the last couple of seasons. Moussa had done that, Dedryck has been the same as well but you have others like KT [Kieran Tierney] and Callum McGregor who have been exceptional as well. For us, it is not about the talk about who is leaving or coming in it is about what we do on the field. We have done our talking on the pitch.”