‘Craig should stay. He’d miss me, he’d miss the weather’

The Herald - Herald Sport - - LADBROKES PREMIERSHIP - ALISON McCONNELL

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

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