Monday 19 February 2018

Brown downplays Celtic title talk

Scott Brown has stepped outside the common consensus by insisting that Celtic do not already have the Scottish Premier League title in the bag.

Despite the 1-0 defeat by Hibernian at Easter Road on Saturday, which ended a six-match winning run, Neil Lennon's men remain six points ahead of Inverness and with a game in hand.

The Celtic manager's demeanour in the post-match press conference appeared to be of a man who, in the knowledge that traditional rivals Rangers are playing in the Irn-Bru Third Division this season, believes his side are in little danger of losing their SPL crown, a belief shared by almost everyone in Scottish football.

However, ahead of the visit of Motherwell, Celtic skipper Brown refused to agree.

"The league is far from over," he said. "It is definitely not done and dusted.

"It was shown against Hibs that it is hard no matter where you play, home or away.

"It's been difficult for us recently, but we have to kick on with our home form and get back to winning ways. We have to keep going.

"We are a few points clear and we have a game in hand as well so that is going to help us, but it is going to be tough against Motherwell.

"They have got some good young players, they started off the season well and then had a little dip but they seem to be going really well again.

"So it's going to be a tough game, it is going to be hard but hopefully there will be a big crowd and we get back to winning ways."

The Scotland midfielder is happy to get the chance to quickly make amends for the Hibs defeat.

He said: "We lost our unbeaten record to Hibs so we need to get back to winning ways, get the winning mentality back at Celtic Park and hopefully we can get our confidence back up.

"We played really well against Hibs.

"I think we had about 70 to 75pc possession in the second half and we created chances – we just couldn't finish it off."

The visit of the Steelmen will be the last SPL game Celtic will play before the winter break, which Brown believes will be beneficial to the squad.

He said: "There are a few people out and a few people have niggles here and there, so I think it will be very good for every team."

Irish Independent

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