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'You miss those big games' - Celtic captain happy to have Rangers back in the top flight

Scott Brown believes the return of the Hoops’ Old Firm rivals will have a positive effect on the Scottish Premiership.

Brown battles with Rangers striker Kenny Miller in the recent Scottish League Cup semi-final at Hampden Park.
Brown battles with Rangers striker Kenny Miller in the recent Scottish League Cup semi-final at Hampden Park.
Image: Danny Lawson

SCOTT BROWN BELIEVES Rangers’ promotion to the Scottish Premiership will be good for Celtic and the whole league next season.

A financial meltdown in 2012 saw the blue half of Glasgow’s Old Firm go into administration and liquidation before being relegated to the Third Division but Mark Warburton’s side secured the Championship title and a return to the top flight earlier this month.

Although the Hoops are on the verge of winning their fifth league championship in a row, they have failed to show real signs of progression under Ronny Deila, and it was announced last week that the Norwegian manager will leave at the end of the season.

Celtic met Rangers in the semi-finals of the Scottish League Cup recently and lost out on penalties, and skipper Brown is eager to take on their city rivals again next term.

“Yeah, you miss those games, those Rangers-Celtic games,” Brown answered, when asked if he was happy to have them back at the launch of the International Champions Cup match between Celtic and Barcelona in Dublin yesterday.

“They’re big ones, they’re huge and the expectation to win them is something that’s been lacking in the last few seasons, with them not being there.

We played them a few weeks ago and we let ourselves down so listen the sooner we play them again, the better it is for us.”

“We’ve got Rangers coming back up to the league, we’ve got maybe Hibernian, Falkirk, or whoever it is as well and it’s going to be a great season next season.

“But we’re going to make sure we get that six in a row.”

The search for a new manager has begun after news of Deila’s exit this summer and Brown says their failure to qualify for the Champions League group stages may have played a part in the decision.

“We didn’t get into the Champions League at the start of the season,” he added. “That’s huge for the club. That puts us on global networks everywhere. It’s great funds for the club as well.

“It’s always hard to take. The last two years we’ve not done that. I think if you look at last year, we were in the semi-final of the Cup, handball, we could have went on and won the treble. Everyone goes down as living legends. That doesn’t happen overnight.

“Everything solely seems to change, and the press getting on top of him. I think he has made that decision to try take the pressure off us because it was always about who is coming in next for him.

“He’s made that decision and we stand by him. We know that we’ve let ourselves down, let him down and we’re just sad to see him go.”

Scott Brown with Edgar Davids Brown and Edgar Davids at the Aviva Stadium yesterday. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

David Moyes, Steve Clarke and Roy Keane have all emerged as possible candidates to take the job at Celtic Park, but Brown refused to be drawn on who the next boss will be.

“It’s whoever the board bring in, I’ve got to be honest,” he said. “I’m not going to say yes or no to anybody. Whoever comes in, we’re going to work well with and we’re going to listen to everything they say.

“That’s what managers do, they come in and they change things. They bring in a couple of new faces. Maybe change things in training like formations. It’s whatever is needed, we’ll do.”

He continued: “At the end of the day, it’s whatever the board decide. It’s not for me to say that Roy, or even myself if I can chuck my name in there. The U20s have not been bad this year!

“No, whoever comes in, we’ll work very, very closely with. They’ll be given a lot of faith by Peter (Lawwell) as well like Ronny (Delia) did, like Neil (Lennon) did, Tony (Mowbray) and Gordon (Strachan) as well.

“We’ve had our ups and downs but that’s football. It’s about how you come back and next season we need to come back a lot better.”

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