Last night, there was a moment in the second half of the game when I knew that Scott Brown was going to be happy at full time.
It wasn’t even the moment the media is focussed on today; it was a little minor incident involving Kent, before the sending off, when Brown seemed to be very skilfully pushing his buttons.
I knew that he’d gotten in his head.
The moment just after he waved Kent down the tunnel, laughing his head off, when he wrapped a consoling arm around Tavernier, to wind up him up too, was the real expression of the man’s total control over the battle sphere.
Tavernier was furious, and I understood why.
Brown had just baited his team-mate into a rash moment and then multiplied the humiliation by treating it as if it was the funniest thing he’d ever seen … and then he went over to their captain to offer entirely ersatz sympathy, probably in a tone that dripped with sarcasm, and with a big smile on his face.
Watching it, I realised how much I’d hate him if the shoe was on the other foot … and of course, that makes me all the happier that Brown is one of us.
In his last game against Sevco, earlier in the season, he scored a goal and shocked them on home turf.
Last night he didn’t score, but his contribution was even more telling.
As ever, he drew a booking early enough in the game that with another player the concern might have been that a red would follow; Scott has so much experience I never thought that likely.
Indeed, the more likely scenario was the one that transpired; an entire match of cooing in people’s ears and snippy remarks caused someone to lose the rag. That Brown was so obviously delighted by it just proves that he had planned it that way.
Earlier today, I watched the clown show that is Prime Minister’s Question Time, a carnival of fakery and phony emotion. I know for a fact that some of the MP’s shouting at each other across the dispatch box actually get on pretty well.
But that there are some in that chamber who actually loathe and detest each other is not in even the slightest of doubt.
I don’t know about Starmer, but I know that much of his front bench despises Johnson.
That’s even clearer in every word that comes out of Ian Blackford’s mouth; the level of his hatred radiates off of him, and it’s not always a positive thing, because it’s so visceral it makes it easy sometimes for Johnson to laugh off his attacks, although the blows struck well today.
Football is even more filled with that fakery, because most players do have a healthy respect for one another and are even oftentimes friends when the spotlight isn’t shining on them.
It’s hard to believe that Brown is friendly with Kent or Morelos or Tavernier; there is just something so primal in the way he gets under their skin, something that can’t be faked, something that is impossible to convey unless it is rooted in the real and the raw.
And it’s the depth of that emotion – entirely mutual – which overwhelms them from time to time when they come up against this guy.
They can’t fight it, and he knows exactly how to stoke it.
But he also knows how to control himself … and they don’t.
Which is why he wins these personal battles with them time and time and time again.
I mean, did Kent try and provoke a reaction with that late tackle? Was that the plan?
To get Brown to respond and lash out, both of them on a yellow but depending on the referee seeing only one half of the exchange?
Brown knew exactly what to do; to hold himself carefully in check until the red card had been flashed. Like a poker player laying down a bluff, waiting for it to be called, only to reveal his own cards and show his opponent what the real bluff was.
When I suggested last night that Brown has been waging, and winning, his personal war against Sevco for years I got the standard answer from some of their fans; all except last season, the one that mattered.
Which is part of their continuing stupidity.
It mattered, yes, but not at the expense of everything else.
Had we won ten in a row and then lost the next five, it would have been a hollow triumph.
Had we made it ten, Lennon would have remained in charge. The club would have remained in a holding position. There would be no Ange revolution … and that might decide the next decade.
We’ve moved past last season; their triumph lasted but a day.
It’s the next one that matters and the one after that and the one after that, and as I’ve pointed out, this is now a war of attrition and the side with the deepest pockets will win, and that will be us. The next great era at Celtic is in front of us, and Ange could very well win a treble in his first campaign.
In the here and now, Brown may well be the guy who does as much as anyone outside Celtic Park to stop them winning the league, thus reaffirming our dominance of the game here.
He will do so in an Aberdeen shirt, yes, but as last night proved the colour of his home strip matters less than the great psychological hold he has over some of their players.
He stole the headlines last night, and ran the show.
But he was allowed to do so because for too many of their footballers Scott Brown was the show.
He was their sole focus. He dominated their thinking. He got inside their heads before a ball was even kicked, and so of course he was able to pull them every which way he pleased once the match started.
Brown owns these people.
The more they hate him, the more he sees that as a win, because whilst he can detach himself from the madness he knows that it consumes them, he knows that it starts as an itch they can’t help but scratch before it swells into something larger, an urge they can’t fight, to niggle, needle, kick and claw at him.
And he knows just what to do with that, as he did in the moment Kent squared up to him last night in that soon forgotten incident I highlighted at the start.
Brown planted his feet, squared up, but kept his cool.
He responded with a sneer and some not-too-polite words, and then he got on with the game, knowing that Kent was still trapped in that moment, waiting for a chance to avenge it.
When it came, Brown got to his feet and waited for the ref.
And then, as Kent was still protesting, he laughed in his face and pointed to the tunnel and waved in its direction.
Then he walked over to James Tavernier, put an arm around him and offered his sympathies.
Tavernier turned in fury, pushed him away, and Brown laughed at him too.
And God, we all laughed with him.
Because that is objectively funny, no matter what you think of Scott Brown the man and the footballer.
Seeing someone owned like that, so utterly, so totally, is worth a chortle or two.
That was a great night for him, and for us.
I’m sure knowing that is what made it all the sweeter for him.