The words of advice Lenny gave to Broony

16-years ago this week, Scott Brown made the move from Easter Road to Celtic Park for £4.4m, a record fee between two Scottish clubs that still stands today. After playing over 600 games and winning 22 trophies for Celtic, Brown finally got the opportunity to say goodbye to the Hoops’ supporters at a star-studded evening at the OVO Hydro tonight.

Brown had been an integral part of that promising Hibs side who won the League Cup in 2007 under John Collins. By the time they hammered Kilmarnock 5-1 in the final, Brown’s midfield team-mate (and former flat-mate), Kevin Thomson, had left Easter Road under a cloud. Having continually clashed with Collins, Thomson made a £2 million switch to Rangers during a January that saw Walter Smith also making efforts to recruit Scott Brown as well as Scott McDonald of Motherwell.


The ‘Brown to Rangers’ rumours persisted, prompting Thomson to say the following month, “We’re best of buddies off the park and on the park, and it would have been nice if both of us could have come. Circumstances mean I’m here and he’s still at Easter Road, but as I’ve said to him on the phone, I’d love him to join me in the summer. Scott’s a very talented boy.”

When Brown finally left Easter Road for that record fee, it was to Celtic as Gordon Strachan gloriously beat Rangers to his signature on a five-year deal.

Scott Brown signed off his time at Hibs with a goal against his new side in Celtic’s 2-1 defeat at Easter Road on 20 May 2007. Former Hibs star Derek Riordan put the visitors ahead before Brown equalised for the Hibees. Ivan Sproule went on to seal the victory for John Collins’ men with a 90th minute goal.

Brown had already agreed his move to Celtic, which prompted new gaffer Gordon Strachan to characteristically play down his new signing’s contribution when he said, “He did alright, he was fine. I was more interested in how my boys were playing.”

John Collins was far more generous in his praise, saying, “He has been a great servant to the club, he is a terrific player and a strong character. I had no fear about him performing. It was nice for him to score the goal, it was a great end to his (Hibs) career and the fans gave him what he deserved, which was a great send-off. He has great self-belief and on top of that  he has a great work ethic. So there was never any doubt that the Hibs fans would be on his side.”



By the time that Brown was officially a Celtic player, Gordon Strachan had softened in his evaluation of his new recruit, telling the Dublin Evening Herald: “He has all the attributes to be a great Celtic player and I am sure he will enjoy teaming up with the other players at the club as we try to bring more success to our fans.”

And bring success is exactly what Scott Brown did.

Brown and co. would go on to win the league in his first season at Parkhead. It would take four years for Brown to win the league again, although he added the Scottish Cup and the League Cup to his trophy haul during that period.

Following Strachan’s resignation at the end of the 2008/09 season, Brown once again linked up with his former Hibs boss Tony Mowbray.

Mowbray’s biggest legacy as Celtic manager was to make Scott Brown the club captain. Brown proved many doubters wrong, as he showed incredible leadership qualities, proving time and time again that his fight and desire to leave everything on the pitch was second to none.

Although, Brown and Mowbray’s relationship was not as rosy as it once was at Hibs, behind the scenes, Brown would take a lot of responsibility for things going wrong during Mowbray’s tenure. Even as captain, however, Brown’s Celtic future looked uncertain.

Mowbray was sacked after just nine months to be replaced by another former Celt, Neil Lennon, who was named as caretaker manager for the remainder of the season.

Brown was brought in just as Lennon was leaving the club as a player. Speaking to Sky Sports about Lennon, Brown recalled:

“That day before I signed, I was sitting in the manager’s office and Gordon said, ‘Right, I need to go and do the press. There’s some food in the fridge, help yourself to a snack’. I went to go and sit down and Lenny walks in.

“This was my worst nightmare. Me and him had been fighting for the last five years and I thought we didn’t have a lot in common. He sat down and said, ‘Let’s talk’. I said okay.

“So he started talking about his love for the club and how much it all means to him. How much Celtic, the fans, taking part in training sessions and being captain of the club means to him.

“I was sitting there thinking, ‘This guy is great! Where’s this going?’ and he kept talking me up as well. He told me I would love it at Celtic. He said: ‘This club is made for you. You’re a winner, you’re a fighter. You’ll run through walls for people’.

“At that moment I knew it was for me, even though I had offers to go to other clubs. I knew speaking to Gordon and then speaking to Neil, I knew I’d made the right decision. This what was I was all about.”

Fast forward three years and Lennon was his manager. Brown recalled Lennon’s return with fondness when talking to the Daily Record:

“I was 24 or 25 at the time with a good few years left on my deal. The club can’t afford just to let players come and go all the time because we don’t have the money they have in the English Premier League.

“So, I stay and then Lenny gets the job until the end of the season. I’m thinking, “Here we go, let’s show this guy what I’m all about.

“He gets 10 or 12 games, and we win every single one of them apart from a Scottish Cup semi at Hampden against Ross County.

“And Lenny made it clear he wanted me to stay. That wee bit of love makes all the difference.

“I didn’t need him to cuddle me, kiss me or blow smoke up my a***. It was just good to know he wanted me to be his captain and to lead by example.

“But I had no experience in being a captain. The first thing I thought was, ‘What are you supposed to say in the huddle? All the best boys, eh?’

“I was lucky that I had Lenny. He talked me through what being a captain was all about.

“If I was struggling, he’d give me advice. Make sure the lads alright, take them out for dinner, keep a smile on their face. He taught me how to lead by example, to work harder than everyone else, get into training early. Don’t get caught out on the p*** all the time – which was something else coming from Lenny!”

Brown would lift his first of many league titles as captain in the 2011/12 campaign. The 22 trophies he racked up in a Celtic jersey is bettered by just two other Celts – Billy McNeill (23) and Bobby Lennox (25)..

Just as Neil Lennon mentored Scott Brown in the art of being a captain, Brown himself passed that baton on to current skipper Callum McGregor, who is on the verge of winning his 20th honour if Celtic are able to overcome Inverness Caley Thistle in the Scottish Cup final.

Few would bet against Callum topping the Celtic gong list before bowing out as a player, and if he manages to leapfrog the likes of Brown, McNeill and Lennox in that illustrious list, he will rightly be regarded as a Celtic legend in his own right.


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