Neil McCann believes that Scott Brown was the key man that drove Celtic to victory at Ibrox.
Last season the hoops skipper was a figure of fun during the Ibrox derby clashes with opponents knocking lumps out of him and goading him at the final whistle.
Brown took his medicine, added three more medals to his collection and returned to Ibrox without Kieran Tierney, Mikael Lustig and Dedryck Boyata. That trio knew how to win at Ibrox, two of them scored in the 5-1 rout in April 2017 but Brown was galvanised and led from the front as his new team-mates savoured the joy of a derby success on enemy territory.
Watching for BBC Scotland McCann reported:
Scott Brown was far too quiet in the last two defeats at Ibrox. He was smothered by Scott Arfield in particular, who did a really good job on him. I felt he could be key today because he had to influence as captain of this team. I looked around that Celtic team and didn’t see any other natural leaders. When he doesn’t do that Celtic suffer. Today he got himself going and he had a huge influence
Looking at the losers the former Dundee boss added:
Steven Gerrard said when he assembled this squad that he could turn to the bench and change games and he had to do that today. I knew right away by his starting line-up that they were going to play quite narrow and sacrifice the wide areas and then try and get runners through the middle of the park. But it became easy for Celtic to work their structure and play directly up against that because they pressed Rangers really high and asked questions of them.
As he chases his TENTH championship medal Brown has added the scalp of Gerrard at Ibrox to those of Pedro Caixinha, Mark Warburton and Walter Smith.
Celtic can stretch their lead at the top of the table to six on September 14 when they travel to Hamilton ahead of Gerrard’s side entertaining Livingston at home.