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Aberdeen a threat to Celtic six in a row bid: Captain Scott Brown

By Gavin McCafferty

Published 02/08/2016

Wary: Scott Brown says Aberdeen are Celtic's biggest title rivals this year
Wary: Scott Brown says Aberdeen are Celtic's biggest title rivals this year

Celtic captain Scott Brown claims Aberdeen will be the biggest threat to their title defence this season.

The Hoops, now with Ulsterman Brendan Rodgers at the helm, are going for their sixth consecutive title and have a new challenge in the form of a rejuvenated Rangers following their four-year journey through the lower leagues.

But Brown cited the Dons and Hearts as the ones to watch out for ahead of his side's opening Ladbrokes Premiership game at Tynecastle on Sunday.

More: Video: Celtic superfan Jay Beatty starstruck as he meets Barcelona star Lionel Messi

When asked to pick one team who would be Celtic's biggest challengers, Brown said: "I think Aberdeen after the last couple of seasons. They have been exciting to watch, they have come to Celtic Park and got points and we have struggled up there. So hopefully we can do a little bit better this season."

When asked how he thought Rangers would fare, the midfielder said: "We'll see when it comes, that's the fifth game of the season so we have got a few before that. Aberdeen have been great the last couple of years and so have Hearts after coming back up last season."

On that September 10 derby at Celtic Park, Brown added: "It will be good. It's always good, a Rangers-Celtic game, especially with the atmosphere. But there's lots of huge games coming up for us and that's way down the line."

The immediate priority is the second-leg of the Champions League third qualifying round tomorrow night.

A late goal from Leigh Griffiths saw Celtic return from Kazakhstan last week with a 1-1 draw against Astana.

"We went over there and got the away goal," Brown said. "That's always going to help us. We played well on the day and maybe could have sneaked another one.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi during the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Barcelona's Lionel Messi during the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 30: Juan Camara (L) of Barcelona and Anthony Ralston (R) of Celtic during the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 30: Brendan Rodgers of Celtic during the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 30: Luis Suarez of Barcelona before the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 30: Lionel Messi of Barcelona during the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 30: Jose Suarez Garcia of Barcelona during the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 30: Lionel Messi of Barcelona during the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 30: Lionel Messi (R) and Luis Suarez (L) of Barcelona before the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 30: Lionel Messi of Barcelona during the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 30: Lionel Messi (C) of Barcelona and Efe Ambrose (R) of Celtic during the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 30: Carles Alena (L) of Barcelona and Moussa Dembele (R) of Celtic during the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 30: Carles Alena (L) of Barcelona and Moussa Dembele (R) of Celtic during the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 30: The Barcelona team pictured before the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 30: Brendan Rodgers of Celtic during the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 30: Lionel Messi of Barcelona during the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 30: Brendan Rodgers of Celtic during the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 30: Lionel Messi of Barcelona during the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 30: Arda Turan (C) of Barcelona celebrates after scoring during the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 30: Luis Enrique of Barcelona during the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 30: Arda Turan (C) of Barcelona celebrates after scoring during the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 30: Luis Suarez of Barcelona during the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 30: Lionel Messi of Barcelona during the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 30: Leigh Griffiths (2nd L) of Celtic celebrates after scoring during the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 30: Leigh Griffiths (2nd L) of Celtic celebrates after scoring during the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 30: Arda Turan of Barcelona during the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 30: Lionel Messi (L) of Barcelona and Efe Ambrose (R) of Celtic during the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 30: Lionel Messi of Barcelona during the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 30: Luis Suarez of Barcelona during the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 30: Lionel Messi (L) of Barcelona and Efe Ambrose (R) of Celtic during the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 30: Lionel Messi (L) of Barcelona and Efe Ambrose (R) of Celtic during the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 30: Brendan Rodgers of Celtic during the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

"But it's going to be a great atmosphere back at Celtic Park and we're looking forward to the game."

Brown believes Celtic's early European exertions will give his team an edge as they begin their league campaign.

He added: "Last season was a little bit disappointing overall but we still got the job done.

"This season we have started off well in the Champions League qualifiers and hopefully we will push that into the league.

"This is always the priority. It's huge for us to try to get six in a row. We fought well last season and deserved it after a long, hard season."

Belfast Telegraph

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