‘Craig should stay. He’d miss me, he’d miss the weather’
AS Craig Gordon muses over his future, Scott Brown, the Celtic captain, has revealed that he has turned down offers in the past to take him away from Parkhead to the English top flight. The 31-year-old maintained that fighting for honours was his prime ambition, with the prospect of fighting for survival at the lower end of the Premier League unappealing.
However, Brown did admit that the decision was slightly different from the proposition facing Craig Gordon given that Chelsea, who have made their interest known in the Celtic goalkeeper this week, are currently leading the table ~ in England.
“I can’t fight that one, can I?” smiled Brown. “I can’t use the Champions League card or play the league card because they are top of the league . . . he’d miss me, he’d miss the weather. It is understandable that people are coming in for him and his head might be thinking ‘do I go or do I stay?’
“At the end of the day it is his decision because he is at a top-quality club just now and he has the opportunity next season again to get into the Champions League where he can show just how good he is again.
“It is understandable. From last season he was probably our player of the year and he was fantastic. To be out for a couple of seasons with knees, elbows and then come back and get injured again and then be written off by everyone. He is a big player here and a close friend. I hope that he stays.”
Brown joined an elite group when he clocked up his 400th appearance on Wednesday night against St Johnstone; only 26 players have made more appearances for Celtic, with the most recent being Tom Boyd. And the Celtic skipper has no regrets about ever snubbing the chance to play in England.
“I had a couple of opportunities but for me when you’re enjoying something and doing so well and part of a club this big, captain of it as well, do I go down the road and maybe fight a relegation battle or do I have 65 per cent of the ball, winning games, playing in the Champions League against some of the top players in the world?” he said.
“Playing with the ball puts a smile on everyone’s face, defending for 90 minutes is hard and to be down in that relegation battle, I don’t think I’d enjoy that as much as everyone else.
“I think if I got the opportunity to go down the road and try it again I’d stay here and do the exact same as I have done because I don’t regret staying here and signing a five-year deal when Neil Lennon was here.”
Meanwhile, Celtic host Hearts on Sunday afternoon with Brendan Rodgers offering some sympathy for the current plight of Ian Cathro, the Tynecastle manager, who has had a difficult start to his managerial career.
“Give him an opportunity,” he said. “It’s a different world to what he will have been in before. When you become a manager the coaching element is brilliant. There has been a lot made of him coming in because he is young, but everyone has to start somewhere.
“When you haven’t been a big player – and I have been through this scenario – of course you don’t get the same respect. If you have been a big player, the minute you walk through the door you get the respect. When you come through the long journey and don’t have that protection it takes a bit longer.
“But it’s your behaviour and how you coach – eventually that will get you the respect. Then it’s just a case of being open day to day, being open and being honest. Ultimately players look out and say, ‘well, what are you going to do to help me?”
BEST OF FRIENDS: Scott Brown and