Celtic captain Scott Brown discusses isolation, retirement, and whether the stick Neil Lennon is taking has put him off management

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LIKE most players the wrong side of 30, retirement is an ever-increasing spectre looming over Scott Brown. And if the Celtic captain wasn’t exactly looking forward to that prospect before, 10 days in the house during self-isolation has only increased those feelings of dread for when the day comes to hang up his boots.

What is for certain is that after a trophy-laden career with Celtic, he doesn’t want it all to end on something of a whimper, as a season he hoped would prove the crowning glory of his stay at the club threatens to descend into farce.

A decision on whether this will indeed be his last season at Celtic may hinge heavily on the level of his involvement on the field – or lack of – over the next few months, as he tries to determine what path his future will take.

“I wouldn’t say my mind has been made up or changed,” Brown said. “It’s for me to sit down and think about my options, whether I want to continue in football or in coaching or elsewhere.

“I’ve not exactly sat down and thought about it yet. We will just wait and see but you never know, if I’m still playing here in three, four, five months’ time you never know.

“I’m not thinking that far ahead. We have a huge game against Livingston coming up [tonight]and we’re taking it one game at a time. It’s not for everyone to worry about my situation – myself, the manager and Peter Lawwell will sit down and sort that out together.

“Until that happens, we’ll just concentrate on getting back to winning ways.”

One thing that is for sure, is that Brown is relieved to be back at Lennoxtown, and able to contribute once more as the club attempts to dig itself out of the rather large hole it finds itself in at present.

“It’s been good being back in training,” he said. “It was obviously pretty hard doing the isolation in the house but the lads managed to keep themselves as fit as the possibly could.

“Here’s hoping we’ve not lost too much in terms of fitness and we’re looking forward to the game, which should be a good one for us.

“I think it’s the longest I’ve been away from Lennoxtown when the lads have been in training that I’ve ever had and it’s shown me that retirement is not going to be great. But I want to stick about in the game as long as I possibly can.

“Don’t get me wrong, it was good to see the kids, but I love coming into my work and I love working hard. It’s not a chore for me to come into my work. It’s something I love to do.”

Brown may not be in the side for the trip to Livingston this evening, with Ismaila Soro continuing to shine in the defensive midfield berth despite the team’s patchy form as a whole. Regardless, he will just be relieved to be able to make his presence felt, even if it is just behind the scenes, after the torture of watching the last two games on the television.

“It was difficult,” he admitted. “Obviously, not being able to go along and give the lads a hand, have a chat with them before the game and at half-time. It’s always hard when you’re part of it but not really there.

“At the same time, I felt for the manager and John Kennedy because they’re two huge influences in that changing room. They speak well before the game about the tactics and they sort everything out.

“There was a lot of pressure put on Gavin Strachan’s shoulders but he was fantastic and he did as well as he possibly could have done but the gaffer and John are back with him now so here’s hoping they get a good result on Wednesday.”

One of the possible career paths being mulled over by Brown is management, with Neil Lennon himself tipping his captain to one day step into the Celtic dugout. Has seeing the stick that Lennon has taken of late put him off that particular option though?

“No,” he said. “Seeing him come in and work as hard as he does – and how hard everyone at Lennoxtown works – and especially how we prepare for game days [is inspiring].

“Then there’s the way we set up for training, when we get days off and how much time we have for recovery and then how we train in the two or three days before a match and how it’s built up.

“I like that part of things: I enjoy it. Management is never going to be easy – there are always going to be people out there who think they know better because they’ve been playing Football Manager throughout their career and they know the best line-up.

“Ask them to give a team talk to the lads, though, and they would struggle. A lot of people have their say now – it’s part and parcel of living in 2021.”

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