Declan McConville with A Celtic State of Mind – The Celt who’s made the biggest impact since Lenny’s return

The quest for the Holy Grail of Scottish football is still well in sight for Celtic, and the man who has been the constant leader and true hero throughout this run is our iconic, invincible, irreplaceable captain – Scott Brown.

As I have grown up and gone along to watch Celtic, Brown has been the ever-present midfield dictator who has brought so much success to the football club. I am very fortunate as a supporter to say that I have led Celtic out the tunnel at Hampden, as a wee 12-year-old guy holding Broony’s hand. This experience allowed me to see the charismatic boy from Fife in action as captain. In the tunnel after a wee chat with me he just completely switched off until we got on to the park and he gave the players a last rallying call before the huddle. Following this, I felt a wee tap on my shoulder, only for the Celtic captain to apologise to me for his bad language.

Before I begin talking about Brown in the past few years, I must confess that at the end of the 2015/16 season, I like many others questioned whether Broony was still the man to be at the nucleus of the team. In the Invincible season Brown was absolutely phenomenal, he bagged the goal which ultimately sealed Champions League qualification against Hapoel Be’er Sheva and had one of the best passing rates in the tournament. If Scott Sinclair or Moussa Dembele hadn’t been so terrific during the season, Brown would have had back-to-back player-of-the-year awards as well as a double treble.

At the start of this season it looked as though the thought of a new contract and the draw of Australia had been playing on Brown’s mind. The game at McDiarmid Park at the beginning of October showed a real different team from the one we had been watching up until that point. The Celts tore St Johnstone apart 6-0 with Brown not being included due to injury.

The midfielder would not make a return to the first-team until the League Cup final where he replaced Tom Rogic to then lift a seventh consecutive domestic trophy. Throughout the month of December he was never a stand-out player but after a break in January he has come back and been terrific, scoring a few belters and being the general In midfield. The new contract which he signed at the end of January will see him at Celtic until 2021, meaning he now knows where his playing career will likely finish.

The club found itself in a state of discord after the departure of Brendan Rodgers, but upon the arrival of Neil Lennon at Lennoxtown, there sitting was our ever-present captain Broony along with Chief Executive Peter Lawwell to welcome the Northern Irishman back. There is no doubt that in the past few weeks, Scott Brown has been key for the Hoops in picking up seven league points from nine and getting us back to Hampden. He could end the season as a nine-in-a-row trophy captain, which would be phenomenal.

When we talk about Celtic legends there is no doubt that Brown has already achieved that status. He has every right to be mentioned in the same breath as Billy McNeill, Danny McGrain and Roy Aitken as a great Celtic captain. For my generation, Scott Brown is our Celtic legend.
 
Declan McConville

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