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Home Sport Football Scottish

Celtic boss Rodgers says Brown is player to be emulated, not envied

By Ronnie Esplin

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers believes parts of Scottish football are racked with envy over his captain Scott Brown.

The combative midfielder was in the news over the weekend after he was subject to a red-card challenge by Ross County skipper Andrew Davies in the Hoops' 3-0 win at Parkhead which was later described by Rodgers as "disgraceful".

Ahead of tonight's Ladbrokes Premiership visit of Dundee, the Ulsterman, who revealed goalkeeper Craig Gordon is set to return following a knee injury which has kept him out since January, spoke of a wider attitudinal problem towards Brown in the Scottish game.

"I don't think it is just for players," he said. "In my time up here, there is a lot of envy towards Scott Brown.

"I see it in certain media sectors, I see it in the playing sector, I see it in managers also.

"Instead of being envious of him, he is a player that needs to be emulated in his qualities.

"What rarely gets talked about is what a really good footballer he is.

"This is a player who goes right in at the top end of the Premier League but it very rarely gets mentioned.

"He is technically so good with the ball. His ability to read the game, recover the ball, make the attacks, his personality and authority in the game...

"Yes, he is one of those characters. I had it with Luis Suarez (at Liverpool). Every ground you went to, Luis always got it. But that only raised his performance level and Scott's the same.

"When you are that aggressor and that type, of course you are always going to be liable to be a target at times but he deals with that. And he is also a very fair and honest player.

"So instead of being envious of him, it is about trying to emulate what his qualities are and if you could produce (more) Scottish players like that then you could have some very good players."

There is no suggestion that Davies will be subject to anything other than the regulation two-match ban which Rodgers finds surprising.

He said: "It does (come as a surprise to me). If the authorities deem that to be violent conduct and not excessive in any way then there is a problem.

"But that's for other people to decide."

Rodgers is pleased to see Gordon, out since the end of January with a thigh injury, back and available.

On-loan keeper Scott Bain, who took over recently from Dorus de Vries, is ineligible against his parent club.

Rodgers said: "We are just going to check with Craig just to make sure everything is okay.

"He has been back in training and if he declares himself fit and ready then he will play. He has come back earlier than we thought."

Rodgers admits that shot-stopper Bain is "definitely" a player that he would like to keep at Celtic Park beyond his loan spell which ends in the summer, when the keeper will become a free agent.

The Carnlough man added: "Hopefully his representative and the club can organise a deal for him to be here."

Meanwhile, Jozo Simunovic is back from suspension with left-back Kieran Tierney (calf), Nir Bitton (knee) and Jonny Hayes (broken leg) still out.

Dundee skipper Darren O'Dea hopes to shrug off a knock in time for tonight's encounter with the league leaders, who will be aiming to close in on another title.

The former Hoops defender came off early in the second half of the 1-1 home draw with Hearts on Sunday but was able to return to training.

Striker Faissal El Bakhtaoui missed the match with a knock but he too has returned to training, while Marcus Haber and Matthew Henvey (both knee) remain long-term absentees for Dundee.

Belfast Telegraph

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