Celtic captain Scott Brown: copy Hearts’ tactics at your peril

Celtic skipper Scott Brown
Celtic skipper Scott Brown

Scott Brown is confident 
Celtic can ward off the challenge of teams taking succour from Hearts’ dismantling of the Scottish champions on Sunday.

The Tynecastle side produced a scintillating performance to thrash Celtic 4-0 and puncture the impression of invincibility cultivated by Brendan Rodgers’ side after 69 unbeaten domestic games.

Afterwards Craig Levein said his Hearts side replicated
 Anderlecht’s performance from when the Belgians beat Celtic 1-0 in Glasgow earlier this month in the Champions League.

But Brown dismissed the notion other Scottish teams can expect to use the same gameplan as a template.

The Celtic skipper claimed Hearts’ performance was a long way from Anderlecht’s display of possession football. “Hearts and Anderlecht are two different teams, let’s not get that wrong,” he said.

“Anderlecht had 800 passes. They were fantastic the way they played. They pressed us really well but they also got the ball down and played football the way they wanted to play. Hearts done it their way and managed to win as well, so fair play to them.

“It is hard to take,” Brown added. “Hearts have not been probably the best over the last season-and-a-half to two seasons and Craig has come in and transformed them really well to be honest. It is like one of Craig Levein’s teams from ten years ago when he was last manager there – the high press, the long, direct physicality of the football and making Tynecastle a hard place to go.”

Brown insisted Celtic can adapt as required. Rodgers criticised the Tynecastle pitch on Sunday and said it was not conducive to playing passing football.

“I think we will learn from that,” said Brown. “Teams will expect they can press us high up the park and we won’t be able to cope with that. But we have a lot of different ways we can play, the gaffer understands that as well. He knows sometimes we need to get the ball up to Moussa [Dembele] and Griff [Leigh Griffiths] and play off them. We have that in the locker as well. We can build in different ways.”

“It is different going to Tynecastle to going to Celtic Park,” he added. “Celtic Park is a lot bigger, it is a lot wider and it is in front of 60,000 of our own fans so if they press and we play through that press we will create a lot of chances and we will score a lot of goals.

“Teams will have their own way they want to play against us. I am sure their managers will maybe think about the way they play us and how they press us from now on.”