Chris Sutton believes that Scott Brown should be used sparingly this season- with Nir Bitton the current player most capable of standing in for the skipper.
A couple of times a season the issue of Brown’s effectiveness crops as fans discuss and dabate a slight drop in energy that is compensated by know-how and leadership.
Last Saturday Celtic faced Dunfermline in the Betfred Cup with the midfielder watching from the stand as Celtic laboured their way into the last eight following extra-time.
There were other factors involved in that performance but there has been plenty of evidence of the hoops struggling without Brown although a purple spell of form last autumn came from a midfield trio of Callum McGregor, Ryan Christie and Tom Rogic.
Trips to Sweden and Ibrox over the next 10 days will pose various questions of this season’s Celtic side with Sutton believing that an unlikely source could ensure that Neil Lennon gets the best out of his club captain.
In the Daily Record Sutton explained:
Plenty of supporters point to the fact that Celtic were at their most fluid and stylish last season when Callum McGregor played the holding role behind Ryan Christie and Tom Rogic.
I don’t disagree with that. It stands to reason. McGregor’s a fast footballer who gets things going quickly and he’s a joy to watch when he’s pulling the strings and it’s working but he doesn’t have the same defensive qualities as Brown. The eye for snuffing out danger.
Neither does Olivier Ntcham. Nir Bitton is best suited. I am a big fan of his and believe he has something to offer this season and not just as an emergency centre-back. Brown has the ideal profile for the matches against AIK and Rangers away from home back to back.
Bitton was an unused substitute in the 2-0 win against AIK and played from the start against Dunfermline.