LEAD­ER­SHIP BY EX­AM­PLE

Brown the heart be­hind Celtic dom­i­nance, says Rodgers

New Straits Times - - Sport -

CELTIC man­ager Bren­dan Rodgers says cap­tain Scott Brown’s lead­er­ship on the pitch has been the cat­a­lyst be­hind his side’s re­mark­able sea­son with more records per­haps set to fall.

The cham­pi­ons are look­ing to be­come the first team to end a 38-game Scot­tish Premier­ship cam­paign un­beaten and will break the league points record if they avoid de­feat in to­day’s sea­son fi­nale against Hearts.

Rodgers’s side have fired in 104 league goals in their all-con­quer­ing sea­son — just one short of the record 105 they amassed in 2003-04 and a win against Hearts would also see them set a new record for num­ber of league wins in a cam­paign.

Brown, who will col­lect the Scot­tish Premier­ship tro­phy for the sev­enth time in his 10-year Celtic ca­reer af­ter the match to­day, has been in in­spi­ra­tional form this sea­son and his man­ager praised his con­tri­bu­tion to the club.

“He has been in­spi­ra­tional this year. I can’t fault him in any as­pect of his per­for­mance lev­els,” Rodgers said.

“As a man­ager it’s very im­por­tant you have that chem­istry be­tween you and your cap­tain, and it was pretty clear early on when I met him that he was top-class in his out­look and what he wanted to achieve.

“From first meet­ing him, right the way through this sea­son he hasn’t let up.

“Im­por­tantly, for me, his per­for­mance lev­els on the field have been ab­so­lutely sen­sa­tional, in how he has led the team and he has been a real cat­a­lyst on the foot­ball idea we have tried to im­pose on to the team.”

Vic­tory in next week’s Scot­tish Cup fi­nal would see Brown join the se­lect group of Celtic cap­tains to have skip­pered them to a do­mes­tic tre­ble.

Rangers fans will be glad to see the end of what has been a dis­ap­point­ing first sea­son back in the Scot­tish top flight.

Rangers, who round off a dispir­it­ing cam­paign at St John­stone to­day, were knocked out of both cup com­pe­ti­tions by Celtic and will fin­ish the sea­son in third spot be­hind their Old Firm ri­vals and sec­ond place Aberdeen.

How­ever, Por­tuguese man­ager Pe­dro Caix­inha, who joined the club in March, is con­fi­dent his side are mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion and will be gen­uine tro­phy con­tenders next sea­son.

“Rangers will al­ways look to be the best team in the coun­try. Rangers want to be big again and that’s what we are work­ing on,” the 46-year-old said. AFP

Celtic cap­tain Scott Brown has been a rev­e­la­tion un­der Bren­dan Rodgers this sea­son.

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