Celtic manager heaps praise on golden Brown

The captain led by example and was the only Celtic player with Champions League experience when the Hoops held Benfica to an impressive draw.

Celtic welcomed back Champions League football to Parkhead on Tuesday. x
Powered by automated translation

Perhaps Celtic need a challenge to be roused. With rivals Rangers banished to the Third Division this season, the surviving half of Glasgow's Old Firm have won only two of their first five matches in the Scotland Premier League this season.

However, presented with their first Champions League group match in four years, they held a strong Benfica side to a 0-0 deadlock earlier this week.

The availability of Scott Brown may be the key to Celtic's season, the manager Neil Lennon said.

The Scotland international has had a stop-start campaign due to a hip injury which has seen him sidelined for most league games so far. The captain was the only Celtic player on the pitch with Champions League experience when the Hoops played Benfica, and Lennon praised him for leading by example.

"He just gives the team real drive," the coach said. "There were moments in the second half when he saw the danger coming and he covered the ground quickly to make tremendous tackles.

"He stopped the majority of Benfica's counter-attacks by nipping them in the bud quickly. He's improving all the time. He has matured a lot since coming to the club, taken the captaincy and blossomed into the skipper he is.

"He's one of our more experienced players who has played at this level before. We had 10 players out there who hadn't played in the Champions League. He sets the example for the rest of them. But there were so many pluses for the team. However, I thought Brown in the second half was colossal."

The Celtic manager, whose side sit a surprising fifth in the league, hopes to have his influential captain available for the home match against Dundee today as the Hoops aim to get back to winning ways following defeat to St Johnstone."We may have to be careful with his injury but he recovered quickly from the game at the weekend, which was pleasing," Lennon said.

"He also finished the [Benfica] game tremendously strong."

The visitors, who took the place of Rangers in the top flight after the Glasgow side were demoted, have taken just four points from their opening six fixtures, but the defender Gary Irvine says the Dundee players can use St Johnstone's defeat of Celtic to inspire them to victory over the Hoops.

"It gives us a wee bit of confidence but in the same breath I'm sure it gives them a massive kick up the backside," Irvine said.

"But it's just been an example of how unusual the start of the season has been, with Rangers out of the league.

"I don't think anybody looked ahead of what was going to happen.

"It was all about what was happening elsewhere so I suppose the fact that Celtic have missed out on a few points gives all the other teams a glimmer of hope.

"Beating the champions is never easy but [St Johnstone] did it, so it's certainly possible."



Celtic v Dundee 6pm

Dundee Utd v Hearts 6pm

Hibernian v Inverness 6pm

Kilmarnock v St Mirren 6pm

Ross County v St Johnstone 6pm


Aberdeen v Motherwell 3.45pm

Follow us