Fear is a strange thing.
Some people experience it and they suck it up and drive on anyway. We call those people heroes. The definition of the word is often misunderstood; it applies only to those who do feel fear. Those who never do can never be called heroes.
Scott Brown will never be a hero. He doesn’t qualify. Fear is almost alien to him.
Scott Brown is a warrior.
After this past week, we’d do better to call him a conqueror.
There are few players, if any, in Scottish football who could have handled the last two games the way he has. Scott Brown went into those matches under almost unbelievable pressure. One slip in a fifty-fifty tackle and there was a chance he’d have been walking up the tunnel. In the cauldron of Hampden he gave a display that was as sophisticated as it was relentless. At Ibrox yesterday he was the calmest man on the pitch.
His disciplined performance was a marvel, it really was.
He showed every quality you could want from a leader, and although Sevco fans are foaming at the mouth over the elbow which caught Kenny Miller in the face they know themselves that our captain led from the front but without losing control.
That’s why they can’t stand him.
Contrast his display with that of Miller himself; the Sevco captain gurned and moaned and moped and threw himself about like a five year old who’s been told there’s no more ice cream. After the alleged elbow, he hit the deck like a sniper victim, and he was still there a minute later, when Celtic were done attacking.
Watch the footage of what happens next.
Miller asks the ref if Brown is still on the park.
When told he was (of course he was, what did Miller think? That he’d gone for a pee?) the reaction is typical; shouting, pointing, waving wildly, his wee torn face tripping him, and finally a snivelling retreat. For a wannabe hard man, he really is a whiny bitch isn’t he?
Brown, in contrast, is unflappable.
The fat lout who managed to clamber over the hoardings (more on that in another piece, oh you better believe it) and get onto the park to have a go at him … what exactly did this overweight joker think was going to happen? That Brown would have made a run for it?
Talk about misjudging your man. Our captain stood his ground.
The Sevco websites who are today asking why our captain didn’t end up stretchered off the park know the answer only too well; if it had come to that there would have been eight stretcher bearers carrying their ugly poster boy to an ambulance.
And the geezer knew it too.
Which is why he stopped short of doing more than just getting in Brown’s face. Even looking at the picture, you can hear the sound of glass breaking as his bottle crashed and he saw Scotty give him the “are you hard enough?” stare.
Sitting in the jail today, I hope he feels a suitable sense of self-pity and shame.
He can lord it down in The Louden all he likes, and live off a few free drinks if his mates can afford them … but he knows that when he saw Brown was up for it the whiskey bravado went out of him like piss down a trouser leg.
Scott Brown is not a tough guy, not in the sense most people think of. He doesn’t throw his weight about. He doesn’t bully people. He just doesn’t fear anyone. He is aggressive in the tackle, never shies away, and he takes everything in his stride.
The same people who call him a thug and accuse him of being out of control are the same folk who said all that about Neil Lennon when he played and captained our team, but like Neil Scott has a nearly exemplary discipline record when you talk about red cards etc.
He gets a lot of yellows, but that goes with the position he plays in.
Do you realise what it takes to draw a caution and a card early in a game and to have it not change your approach in any meaningful way? To have it not impact on your effectiveness or desire to challenge for every break in the ball? And to do that, week on week, without ever getting that second card and the marching orders? Brown does it, time and again, which is why the decision to show him a straight red against Ross County was so absurd.
Scott Brown is not that sort of player … and he never has been.
It’s not for nothing that the wailing on Sevco’s fan sites was so loud when it was discovered he’d play in the semi-final.
I knew it would be even louder when he was cleared to play yesterday.
For all the bile they spew onto him, they know our captain is a class act, that he is worth the whole of their midfield put together, that he is a powerful figure whose presence in the side lifts the fans and his fellow players alike.
There’s a moment which, to me, sums it up, a moment from a small video clip Sky put together in the aftermath of the match; it’s Scott’s “moments” from the game and it opens with the best of them, him in animated discussion with the rest of the players in the pre-match Huddle. I would love to know what he was telling them but you don’t have to wonder … you saw it on the pitch when the game began, and from the first minute you knew it was our day.
The team played for 90 minutes like they were all Scott Brown.
And it was easy.
Yesterday, and last week, we saw Scott at his very finest.
What a captain. What a leader.
He came, he saw and he conquered.