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Neil Lennon discusses Scott Brown evolution, insists their bond at Celtic is as strong as ever

Celtic Captain Scott Brown applauds fans at the final whistle of the UEFA Europa League Play Off First Leg match between Celtic and AIK at Celtic Park on August 22, 2019 in Glasgow, United...

The Celtic boss has hailed the continuing contribution of his club captain.

Celtic Captain Scott Brown applauds fans at the final whistle of the UEFA Europa League Play Off First Leg match between Celtic and AIK at Celtic Park on August 22, 2019 in Glasgow, United...

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has re-affirmed Scott Brown's importance to his first-team, believing he is still every bit a 'big-game player', The Scottish Sun report.

There have been questions raised about Scott Brown's form this season, most notably after the UEFA Champions League exit to Cluj last month.

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Pundits such as Chris Sutton suggested it could be time for him to be phased out of the first-team, including in big matches that he would ordinarily be one of the first picks for.

Lennon though is not interested in that, feeling that the player has evolved his game to be just as important as ever.

With the personal bond between the duo also strong, it appears that Brown will continue to be a mainstay in the Hoops for a while yet.

As quoted by The Scottish Sun, Lennon said: "I love him, and you know we have a great relationship — a very strong bond with a huge amount of respect, and it goes back a very long way.

“I trust Scott and he trusts me. It would take a lot for anything to come between that.

“He’s evolved his game to be that No6 now, where he reads the game and he still covers the ground, tackles, and recycles the ball brilliantly.

“When you really need him, he’s there and that’s really important. Broony’s a big-game player."

 

No-one else performs Brown's role

Celtic are a primarily attacking team but balance is needed in the middle of the park and Brown is the only viable defensive midfield choice.

Nir Bitton is primarily used as a defender these days while Eboue Kouassi appears miles away from making an impact.

So aside from Lennon's trust in the player, there's simply no option but to persist with the captain in team selections going forward this season.

It could be argued he isn't needed for matches against bottom six teams in the Scottish Premiership, but that's a risk that the Hoops boss clearly isn't willing to take.

Brown took deserved criticism for his role in the Cluj disaster, but he wasn't the only poor performer that night.

Celtic captain Scott Brown  reacts during the Ladbrokes Premiership match between Rangers and Celtic at Ibrox Stadium on September 01, 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland.

As Lennon noted in his press conference, Brown was one of the stand-outs at Ibrox and is more than earning his spot in the heart of the midfield.

With European games on the horizon that will require defensively robust performances, having Brown screen the Hoops' defensive line is vital.

Future transfer windows can be an opportunity to address eventually replacing him, but right now he'll continue to be a mainstay.

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