Celtic unveil new strip as captain Scott Brown praises Aberdeen title challenge
Published 04/05/2015 | 18:09
Celtic captain Scott Brown has praised Aberdeen for pushing them to the final month of the Scottish Premiership season - but claimed his team were well worth their title win.
Celtic's fourth consecutive title was wrapped up on Saturday when Aberdeen lost 1-0 against Dundee United.
That left the Hoops 11 points ahead with three games to go, but their three victories over Aberdeen have proved pivotal, with the Dons otherwise only two points worse off than the champions.
After launching Celtic's New Balance home kit for next season, Brown said: "It was a good challenge from Aberdeen all the way. It's always hard, especially when they keep pushing. Our games were on Sundays, theirs were always Saturdays.
"But we kept fighting, we kept playing attractive football, and that's what we try to promote at this club.
"You always look at whoever is second and third, especially at the start of the season we were a couple of games behind. We were playing catch-up and we knew we had to win games to put Aberdeen under pressure and we managed to do that."
Celtic dropped half of the 20 points they have lost in the first eight games, a run that left them in sixth place after home defeat by Hamilton in early October.
But Brown believes they have ultimately reaped the benefits of Ronny Deila's tactical changes.
"It was a season that was hard for us to start with, but at the end of it we got what we deserved," the Scotland midfielder said.
"You always look at the league and worry when we are not top, when you look at the squad and the talent we have got in the dressing room.
"The gaffer came in and had his own style of play and it slowly and steadily got in there and we are enjoying every single moment of it now. It is coming together nicely at the end of the season and hopefully we can do that next season."
Celtic cannot slack off though with a trip to Pittodrie to come on Sunday, especially after Kris Commons sparked some anger in the Dons camp by claiming he never felt under any pressure from Derek McInnes' side.
Brown said: "We need to make sure we are focused, we are not sloppy, that we are still going there wanting to win and trying to get as many points on the board as possible.
"Whenever anyone plays Celtic, they always up their game that 10 per cent. It's always hard going up to Aberdeen as well. They are a good team, they try to play football and it should be a good game.
"Every game we have played against them they have made it hard. We have struggled at Pittodrie in the past, but this season we did very well, we got a late goal as well. I think that kick-started our season going up there and winning away from home, in the 91st minute as well."
While Brown has become accustomed to winning titles, Saturday was uncharted territory for Gary Mackay-Steven, who joined the club at the end of the winter transfer window.
Mackay-Steven said: "It's amazing. Obviously that's one of the main reasons why I came here, to win trophies. To get my first was really special. It is a little bit surreal, but I think it will hit home when we collect the trophy on the last day of the season. It will be incredible to have a medal and the trophy."
Celtic will soon turn their attentions to making significant improvement in the Champions League qualifiers and Mackay-Steven is glad he settled in during the past few months after initially signing a pre-contract agreement to join in the summer.
The former Dundee United winger said: "Coming when I did was really important, to establish myself and hit the ground running. I wanted to feel like I made a contribution if we won the trophy.
"Every manager wants you to play slightly different and I have tried to buy into what the manager here wants. For sure, that has made me a better player and I can't wait to next season. There is so much to play for and we need to hit the ground running."