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Celtic have continued from where they left off last season, extending their domination in the domestic scenes. Brendan Rodgers’ side sit at the top of the Scottish Premiership table, with 20 points from 8 games and have progressed to the semi-finals of the Scottish League Cup as well.
With this, they have extended their unbeaten record in the domestic competitions to a whopping 58 games and look set for a 7th successive league title and another domestic treble looks very much possible as well.
However, the biggest challenge for Rodgers’ troops will be to make it past the group stages of the UEFA Champions League. Their European campaign got off to a bad start as they were thrashed 5-0 by Paris Saint-Germain, but they bounced back with a 3-0 win over Belgian champions RSC Anderlecht. With another mighty opponent waiting in the form of Bayern Munich, it isn’t going to be an easy task by any means to achieve progression.
There have been a number of injury concerns for Rodgers to contend with this season, with the likes of Moussa Dembele, Erik Sviatchenko, Dedryck Boyata, Jozo Simunovic, all missing good chunks of games. But the Hoops’ squad has continued to prove to be a formidable unit.
A number of players have been performing exceptionally for the Scottish champions, with the likes of Leigh Griffiths and Scott Sinclair contributing with goals while Kieran Tierney has continued his meteoric rise. The likes of Callum McGregor and James Forrest have been very impressive as well. However, if I was asked to pick Celtic’s best player of the season so far, my choice would be club captain and midfield mainstay Scott Brown.
While it is the attack-minded players like Griffiths and Sinclair etc., who grab the limelight all the time, it means the contributions of the captain often go under the radar. However, not many would argue with the fact that Brown remains the most influential player on the pitch for the Bhoys.
In his 10th year at the Parkhead, the 32-year old Brown is arguably enjoying one of the best spells of his career for the Scottish champions. An ever-present in the starting line-up, he has featured in 16 games already this season for the Hoops in all competitions and has played a pivotal role in his club’s continued unbeaten streak.
Brown might not contribute a whole lot to the team’s attacking side of the game, as indicated by his numbers – no goals and one assist so far this season, but it is he who sits at the base of the midfield and does the dirty work, on which his attack-minded teammates can build upon. A tenacious presence in the middle of the park, the 32-year old is adept at screening his backline and dominates the midfield with his aggressive style of play.
The captain’s ability to win back the ball in the centre of the pitch and then set his teammates off on attacks is a major driving force behind how Celtic operate, but it often goes under-appreciated. And add to that, his supreme leadership skills, the way he carries himself on and off the pitch, the way he wears his heart on his sleeve, Brown is a model for young players to look up to.
There have been some small niggles and injuries, but Brown has looked rejuvenated this season and has continued to be a major player for the Scottish champions. Considering the sheer amount of influence he exudes when on the field, Scott Brown is Celtic’s best player of the season so far.