I can’t remember when the media campaign against Scott Brown started. It precedes Brendan Rodgers’ arrival. It was certainly going on when Ronny Deila was at the club and for a long time before. I found articles criticising his “indiscipline” and his style of play going back as far as 2011. It’s clear that a lot of people formed an opinion about Scott a long time ago and if they are in no mood to change it now they never will.
It was one of the reasons Brown himself responded to Andy Walker’s scandalous comments back in 2016; Ronny was not the only one being targeted in that period and our captain knew it.
If truth be told, this may not be anything personal. It may just be strictly business, which means business as usual for a media which looks for any opportunity to slate Celtic. This goes back further than Brown himself. Neil Lennon got this all the time. The media was always second-guessing him as Celtic captain and commenting on his alleged on-field misbehaviour. This was in spite of his having a disciplinary record which was exceptional. Like Brown, his playing style drew yellow cards but reds were exceptionally rare.
The media constantly criticised him. It sneered at the idea that he was a fitting captain of our club, in a way they never asked the same questions about Barry Ferguson or others. Scott should probably be grateful that he wasn’t born Irish. His life would be unbearable.
I’ve read of both men being “unfit” to be our club captain.
Neil sometimes had to endure the same sort of nonsense about his time as manager. Brown will doubtless be forever followed with the same. The media has decided it. He gets away with murder. His every move on the pitch is scrutinised. The stupidest person can offer the dumbest criticism of him that simply minds can conceive of and get headlines out of it.
Andy Walker and Joey Barton, one a bona fide goon and the other a cartoon character, had a go this weekend and they are all over the papers as if their opinions were not patently absurd. They’ve twigged to what several others, including Craig Levein, have … slagging Scott Brown gets your name in the news because the media rushes to embrace you.
Some of what he has been subjected to is just outrageous. Apart from that lot he’s had to put up with Gordon Waddell calling him “the poster boy for mediocrity”; others criticising him for trying to “pick and choose” when he plays for Scotland; he was slammed for telling the plain truth about Motherwell fans throwing things at our players … and this was all just this season.
It’s the norm for him. During the last campaign he talked about how he thrives on this. It’s a good job that he does, otherwise he would not be able to play with such verve, and he would not be so effective as the anchor of our midfield.
What I do know is that although the critics of Brown can be found spouting their nonsense since he was appointed captain they’ve grown more vocal the better his performances have become. You only have to look at the barely constrained gibbering when he won his appeal against the red card he got at Ross County last season; from a place where we were told that he was largely ineffectual in big games there was sudden terror that he’d be available against Sevco.
And of course he dominated those matches from first minute to last.
At Ibrox last Sunday he was the engine that powered the whole machine. His assist for Moussa Dembele’s equaliser was astounding, so much so that even Ibrox Noise – yes, you read that right – did an excellent article on how well executed the pass was.
That even our sworn enemies have greater appreciation for what Brown brings to the team than the media is able to muster … that is telling, isn’t it?
I don’t expect Brown to get fairness, not now, not at this stage in his career. If it was going to happen it’d have happened years ago. There are elements of the press that cannot bring themselves to offer him praise no matter what he achieves. They will always find a way to attack him.
Brown is not only a great captain but of the greatest captains we ever had. That he so clearly stands head and shoulders above almost every other football in the country is a credit to him and a source of immense pride to all Celtic fans.
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