Saturday 14 December 2019

Brown plays down Gers' early surge

Ronnie Esplin

Celtic's absent skipper Scott Brown has played down the three-point gap opened up by Old Firm rivals Rangers at the top of the Scottish Premier League.

The Scotland midfielder was ruled out for 10 weeks earlier in the month with an ankle problem and had to watch as the Ibrox outfit won 3-1 at Parkhead last Sunday to inflict the first SPL defeat of the season on Neil Lennon's side.

Speaking at the draw for the semi-final of the Co-operative Insurance Cup at Hampden yesterday, where Celtic were drawn against Aberdeen and Rangers were paired with Motherwell for the January matches, Brown revealed his frustration but admitted he is desperate to return to help his team-mates regain the SPL title.

"It was a big blow but at the end of the day it's only three points and there are a lot of games to go until the end of the season," he said. "So hopefully we will make the points up by then.

"Hopefully I will be back and flying by the time of the semis. They found out it was a broken bone. You can play with these injuries but it gets worse and worse. Eventually I went to get a scan and now we can take it from here.

"There's nothing worse than going in to the physio's room every day and going on the bike. That's all I can do.

"To see the lads out there training is devastating but that's part and parcel of the game and hopefully I will come back fitter."

Hoops manager Neil Lennon is aware of the potential significance of his first SPL defeat of the season last week to their arch-rivals -- indeed, their first league defeat since taking over from Tony Mowbray in March.

One of Lennon's predecessors, Tommy Burns, lost only one game in the 1995-96 season -- but still lost the title to Rangers.


"Yes, it is a concern," said the Northern Irishman, ahead of the SPL clash with St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park, after beating the Saints at the same venue in the Co-operative Insurance Cup on Wednesday night.

"It shows you that there is no margin for era. But it is a different era, different players and I hope that is not going to be the case. If it is, we have to win every game from here on in.

"But we have to concentrate on what we are doing, we can't afford to drop too many points along the way. Rangers have a very good resilience about them but they are human and I'm sure they will drop points along the way and we have to make sure we take advantage when the opportunity comes."

St Johnstone v Celtic,

Live, ESPN, 12.0

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