Celtic have achieved a host of notable results this season. Within the camp there is acknowledgement that another was added to the list with Scott Brown’s successful SFA appeal on Thursday.
The Celtic captain will be free to play at Ibrox this afternoon after a disciplinary tribunal adjudged that the straight red card he received against Ross County should be reduced to a caution.
As Brendan Rodgers’ men look to claim a fifth victory against Rangers this season, following on from their Scottish Cup semi-final slamming a week ago, and extend their unbeaten domestic season to 42 games, Brown will be an invaluable presence, believes Stuart Armstrong. To his fellow midfielder, the 31-year-old is an irreplaceable figurehead, the tone-setter for the entire team.
“I think he is a unique player in the sense that he epitomises Celtic in many ways,” said Armstrong, right. “It’s a lot nicer to have him in the team than out of it.
“We’ve got a very good depth of squad here and I think everyone will want to play their part. With Scott, though, his performances and his effort throughout the games has shown he’s a true leader. He’s respected very much. He’s a terrific player, there’s no doubt about it.”
Armstrong seems no closer to a resolution over agreeing a contract extension, with only 14 months of his present deal remaining. He sticks firmly to his line that “these things usually take care of themselves”. Yet as the 25-year-old does so, he is sure that the manner in which Brendan Rodgers has taken care of business means this possible treble-winning season could be the first block in the Irishman “building something special here”.
“There is a lot of good things about Celtic and this is the best football I’ve played in my career so far.” said Armstrong. “With Brendan Rodgers here and the prospect of playing Champions League football, next season is exciting. We can hopefully improve upon our performances this season and be part of this ever-growing football club.”
Rodgers aims to have signings in place before the club return for pre-season on 19 June – three weeks before a Champions League second round qualifier. It had been speculated that he was focusing on a midfield playmaker and a centre-back but he wants a greater infusion of fresh talent than that.
“Ideally you’d have signings in by 19 June, and there’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes,” the manager said. “We want quality though, not quantity. We have a lot of boys tied up on deals who are continually improving so it will be about quality rather than numbers. It’ll probably be no more than two, in terms of what we need. It won’t be nine or ten.”