Celtic Diary Tuesday May 16: Brown, Business Plans and Birkikara Banned
Before all the usual excitement of the daily diary, the laughter, the tears and the exclusive revelations , lets pause for a moment to mark a truly outstanding achievement.
Scott Brown has completed ten years at Celtic.
I know, its flown past.
From the narky wee lad who joined in 2007, we have watched him mature, sometimes slowly, granted, and take his place among great Celtic captains of yesteryear.
These days, its rare for a player to stay so long at one club, especially with the financial rewards available down south.
Its been while since anyone got a testimonial, and Brown deserves his.
Brown goes back to 2008 to pinpoint the beginning of the change in his attitude…
“I got suspended for four games at the end of my first season.
“The rules had changed and six yellow cards got you a suspension so every season I’d be suspended four times. I missed the run-in to us winning the league at Tannadice. I came back with two games to go and we had won four or five in a row so I was on the bench for the last two games.
“I came on but thought I better change my ways instead of missing the games and I wanted to be part of the team that won the league.
“Don’t get me wrong, it was phenomenal still to be part of the squad and winning games.
“But from there Gordon sat down with me and we spoke about it and I went on to have one of my best seasons the next year.
“I felt as if I owed him. Everyone knew I was a wee bit immature when I signed and it was more on the field than anything.
“Instead of following the man back I would end up trying to win the ball and mistiming the tackle, picking up silly bookings and that sort of thing.
“It was just about changing small parts of my game to improve everything and he was the one who did it. That’s why I owe him.”
“When I first signed I was a cocky little p****. I’ve enjoyed every single minute of it and there have been ups and downs. But there have been a lot more ups than there have been downs. I could have gone to England but the main thing was Gordon Strachan.
Oddly enough, Strachan may have coached the cockiness out of Brown, but it never quite left the former Celtic manager. Especially if you disagree with him on anything.
“The wee man was brilliant when I went and spoke to him. He understood what was going to happen and from that moment he was phenomenal – everything about him, the way he trained and the way he spoke, the way Peter Lawwell spoke as well and how highly they spoke about me.
“I didn’t speak that highly of myself so it was quite good of them. I was a wee so and so but I wasn’t a defensive midfielder, that’s for sure.
“I would bomb on, run about and chase every single ball and tackle anything that moved. I didn’t have too much quality on the ball or the vision to see a pass.
“It was about getting my game away from the running and chasing a ball so I got two dogs to do that for me instead. Gordon taught me how to play in a position.
“He played a 4-4-2 at the time and made me more of a defensive midfielder rather than an attacker and I used my legs at the back. He got me to understand my game.”
Over the years he has worked on his game and is now one of the better players at Champions League level.
As this statistic, from UEFA’s site, indicate..