Sad derby ending won’t taint Scott Brown’s Celtic legacy

Before Rangers’ clash with Celtic on Sunday, Rod Stewart claimed that Scott Brown should have a statue erected in his honour outside of Parkhead.

And you probably couldn’t find a football fan in the East End of Glasgow who would disagree, given the extent of his contributions over the past 14 years.

But an hour of football later, with Celtic trailing 3-1 and down to ten men, he was subbed off to no fanfare whatsoever.

Scott Brown captained Celtic against Rangers for the final time Scott Brown captained Celtic against Rangers for the final time
Brown captained his team against Rangers for the final time | Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

It wasn’t quite the end for Brown at Celtic, but for his final Old Firm derby it was a tragically quiet sign-off for a player who has spent his career at the centre of attention. It came after he’d been left in the dust of Alfredo Morelos, who hammered in the second goal that proved to be a killer for Brown and his team.

When the dust settles, though, the sad end to Brown’s time at Parkhead won’t come to define it. He’s won too much and left too much on the line since he first walked in the gates in 2007 for that to be the case.

This season aside, his performances in green and white have been inspirational. He will go down in history as one of the all time greats, and that is no small achievement at a club with the weight of history that Celtic boast.

He’s won ten league titles, six Scottish Cups, and made more than 100 appearances in European competitions. Over and above that, though, he has been the heart and soul of Celtic, personifying and channeling the arrogance and swagger they have shown throughout a decade and a half of unprecedented dominance.

This was just the second season of Brown’s 14 at Parkhead that he has failed to get his hands on silverware. There are few players at any club, anywhere in football, who can boast that level of attainment over such a sustained period.

Sunday was the 50th time he’d taken to the pitch against Rangers and he may get to do so again when he joins Aberdeen in the summer. If the time comes for him to return to Parkhead, though, there will be no hostility towards the long-serving captain who has nothing to regret about his Celtic career despite the way it finished.

It’s been a sad, whimpering end to a glorious Celtic career, but Sunday was merely the full stop at the end of the book.

The story itself was one of blood, thunder and silverware. And who knows, Rod, he might just get that statue yet.