Scott Brown has opened up on the reasons behind his £4.4 million move from Hibs to Celtic in 2007 - and why he turned down Rangers.
The Hoops captain, currently in his testimonial year at Parkhead, had been impressing for the Easter Road side and had caught the eye of numerous clubs, including both sides of the Old Firm as well as teams south of the Border.
When Kevin Thomson, his midfield colleague in Leith, signed for Rangers it was expected that Brown would follow suit. But speaking to Celtic TV, the former Scotland international revealed what had sold him on his move to Celtic.
“I had a couple of offers to go down to England, an offer to go to Rangers and an offer to come to Celtic. I sat down with the managers and coaches once the bids were accepted by Hibs.
“I sat down with Gordon [Strachan] and we connected really well. He believed in me and wanted to build his team around myself, Aiden McGeady and a few of the younger ones coming through like Stephen McManus, Darren O’Dea, and he was bringing in Scott McDonald as well.
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“So I think the trust he already put in me to sign me, and for him to say that I was going to be part of his plans for the next two or three years... I think that’s what was going to be exciting for me.”
Despite picking up 14 medals in 11 seasons at Celtic, Brown admits he “underestimated” what it would be like playing for the club.
“We got a few good results against Celtic [when I was at Hibs], we went to Celtic Park and Ibrox and beat them a couple of times. So I though, ‘you just jump ship and see what happens’.
“So I went from one SPL team to another and the expectation levels are night and day. Coming [to Celtic], they expect you to win the first game [of the season] but we drew with Kilmarnock.
“Folk were turning round going, ‘it’s Kilmarnock, we should be battering them!’ and I’m like, ‘it’s a point!’
“The fans expect nothing less than 100 per cent and a win. Automatically, you’ve got to win. Especially in the league, no matter who it is we’ve got to go and play attractive football.
“When I was coming through at Hibs, you would win a game, then lose a game.
“The fans weren’t on your back that much and didn’t expect you to be challenging Rangers and Celtic, because we were a young team.
“Then you come to 60,000 fans week in, week out and if you make a bad pass or it goes out of the park, they’re on top of you.
“You’ve got to have that bottle to keep doing it, and keep doing what you believe in and not let people get into your head especially.”
Earlier this week, it was confirmed that a Republic of Ireland XI will play Celtic in Brown’s testimonial, with part of the proceeds going to the family of former Celtic and Irish international midfielder Liam Miller, who died earlier this year.
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