Celtic have not seen the best of the club legend this season

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Neil Lennon admits Scott Brown is no longer as influential as he used to be at Celtic.

The captain has become a legend over 14 seasons at the club, having played over 600 games since being signed from Hibs by Gordon Strachan in 2007.

Despite making 28 appearances so far this season, the 35-year-old’s influence has waned and Lennon concedes he’s not been at his best as he nears the end of his playing days.

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Brown did score in the recent 4-0 win over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park, but it was a rare highlight in what has been a frustrating campaign for the skipper and indeed everyone at the club.

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His manager says Brown hasn’t been helped by the shutdown in March stalling his momentum, and by the lack of fans in stadiums since football returned.

As quoted by Record Sport, Lennon said: “It has been difficult because of the influence he’s had and what he’s achieved in the game and how he’s received in the dressing room.

“He probably hasn’t been at his influential best this season.

“When we went into the lockdown last March he was playing brilliantly, looking really fit and producing really powerful performances. The lockdown had an adverse impact on him.

“Broonie is also one of those players who feeds off the energy of the crowd so having no fans in the ground hasn’t helped him either.

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“It’s always difficult when you see a player with that temperament and personality start to come towards the end of his career – you have to deal with that as delicately as you possibly can.

 “I went out as a Double winner so there wasn’t too much bitterness about it. Your final game is your final game and there’s always going to be that huge sense of loss but I don’t think Broony’s near that just yet.

“I brought him back for the Scottish Cup Final in December because I thought it was the right thing to do with a player with his experience and quality. And that proved to be the case.

“He still has a lot to offer, although maybe not so much as he has done in previous seasons. That’s just the natural course of things, whether it’s football or any other walk of life.

“I thought he was excellent at Kilmarnock last midweek and he also played well for an hour against Motherwell at the weekend.

“He had a couple of games out through suspension and came back fresh and strong.”

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