Celtic: Should Brown play this weekend?

Celtic: Should Brown play this weekend?

Celtic have relinquished their stronghold over Scottish football and no longer does Parkhead possess the honour of being home to the champions. Neither does it have Neil Lennon at the helm.

Thus, Sunday’s Old Firm derby will have very little riding on it.

That being said, the Hoops won’t lie down when their city rivals travel to the green and white half of Glasgow; this will be a chance to exert revenge.

On the chalkboard

John Kennedy’s team selection this weekend will be incredibly intriguing to see. After all, he witnessed his team labour to a 0-0 draw with Dundee United last time out.

Diego Laxalt was disappointing on the left while Ryan Christie was again left wanting in forward areas. However, one of the most disappointing performances was delivered by the club’s skipper Scott Brown.

Should Brown start on Sunday?

No thanks

Yes please

Yes please

When the Bhoys needed him most, the captain was anonymous and was incredibly isolated in the middle of the park. The 35-year-old completed just 77% of his passes as he struggled to maintain discipline and composure.

It was a display which was rather out of character with his mini-revival in recent weeks. The veteran scored and assisted Albian Ajeti in a delightful fashion against Kilmarnock. In the match against St Mirren, meanwhile, he rolled back the years with a complete midfield performance.

However, on too many occasions this term, he has let his side down. Brown has been dispossessed and taken an unsuccessful touch on 30 occasions, for instance. He was also sent off after five minutes against Livingston and has been off the pace in a number of games; namely Sparta Prague in the Europa League, when he missed his clearance for their opening goal and was run ragged by their midfield players.

If anything typifies his season, however, it would be the fact that he was left on the bench against Rangers in January. That was a huge statement from Neil Lennon, as he left the club’s leader on the bench in their biggest game of the season.

That being said, Kennedy must take the same stance this Sunday and drop the £23,000-per-week earner to the bench. As he proved against Dundee United last time out, he struggles against the counter-attack, something which could spell danger this weekend.

Frank McAvennie has described the Celtic hero as “frustrated” in recent weeks week, and indeed that’s what he’ll feel if he’s benched again on Sunday.

With Rangers in a bubbly mood following their title win, they will be as keen as ever to get one over their old rivals. Thus, the power and energy of Ismaila Soro may well be needed instead of the ageing legs of Brown.

It’s a tough call to make but it’s one which needs to happen.

AND in other news, Hammond magic: Celtic could find their new McGeady by swooping for 15-cap dribble king…

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