Ntcham won the man of the match award today, deservedly.
Boyata is getting credit in a lot of places and even I have to say that he earned it.
McGregor and Tierney were fantastic, as usual.
Every player did a turn.
Yet at the centre of all the action, at the core of that display, was the club captain, once more. Scott Brown was magnificent.
He is always magnificent these days.
He doesn’t get more credit because his consistency has now reached such a level that this is what you expect from him, game after game.
The dedication this man must have to the craft, to the business of pulling on football boots day in and day out has to be immense.
How does he do it?
The determination he shows cannot be replicated in any other footballer in this country.
He runs games time after time. He breaks up attacks, creates opportunities, he is cool under pressure.
Think of the discipline it takes to do what he did today.
He was booked in the first ten minutes of the game by Willie Collum; it was a decision which had me laughing, open mouthed. A first foul, and an innocuous one at that, greeted with a yellow card. If it was supposed to put him under pressure it failed to. He looked like the coolest guy on the park.
And Brown does this regularly. I’ve lost count of the number of times he’s been booked early in a game only to stroll through it like a man without a care in the world. And what makes it all the more incredible is that he does not shrink away from the responsibilities on his shoulders; indeed, his aggression level stays a constant. If anything the booking gives him an extra focus, and his tackling and ball-winning actually improves.
Sevco fans are furious with Gerrard and some of the players for not needling him, as if Brown needed needling in these games. No manager of that club will come close to challenging us until they can work out what to do about our captain in these matches.
They couldn’t cope with him, and I’m certain that there were plenty of sly digs at him both on and off the ball that the camera didn’t catch, but he refused to react. The media will say this is a sign of his “growing maturity” as if he was an out of control ned before; actually Brown’s disciplinary record has been exceptional for the whole of his career.
He is the total pro, a consummate performer who plays with his heart but also his head. He knows what he can get away with and what he can’t, and although he’s as involved in these games as any he has an impressive ability to somehow put himself above the fray, as if the madness around him was something he wasn’t quite part of.
We have long wondered who his long term replacement will be.
That remains a burning question, and one we have only a couple of years to answer.
I don’t think we’re the only people to have lost out on McGinn’s decision to go to Aston Villa.
I think the player himself will come to regret it in time, because I firmly believe that he would have learned more from three years playing alongside Scott Brown than he will in the next five or ten playing beside some over-rated EPL or EFL mercenary.
Whoever we do bring in will be working alongside a master, a genuine leader, a player who will teach him everything he will ever need to learn about life at a big club, the expectations of the fans and loyal service being worth more than cold hard cash. I could not think of a better footballing role model.
We are so very, very lucky to have him.
We should all enjoy it whilst it lasts.