Self-confessed cheat Walker has a short memory. Scott Brown needs no lectures from Sky’s hypocritical commentatorCeltic captain Scott Brown is the man opposition fans love to hate. That’s, more often than not, a good sign as it means they know the player will cause their teams problems.
But we should not forget that he is also the man opponents love to kick, and who coaches and pundits love to criticise and condemn.
Brown has been by far the best Scottish player of his generation and yet, virtually every week, we see some new infraction that he is supposed to have committed.
No doubt some will say that he “brings it on himself”, like another Celtic captain was said to do when he was faced with the worst sort of abuse and intimidation.
But, unlike at some other clubs, the captaincy of Celtic doesn’t seem to afford a player any respect from those outside the club – Scott was farcically omitted from the Player-of-the-Year shortlist last season, despite being arguably the best in the country – and that’s all the more reason why Celtic fans should be careful about being drawn into attacking him.
At the weekend, it was Motherwell’s Cédric Kipré who was the apparently innocent victim of Scott’s malevolence. They collided, Scott gave him a slight shove on the shoulder as he rose, Kipre responded by kicking him.
Brown, who had only half-risen, went back down and looked to the referee, who sent Kipré off.
It wasn’t a hard kick, admittedly. But, to some, that seems to make it allright.
And to Sky’s Andy Walker, who has a personal history with Scott, it was the Celtic captain’s “pathetic” reaction that got the French player red-carded.
Did Scott roll around pretending to be hurt? Did he wave an imaginary card demanding action? No?
Did he expect Kipré to be sent off? Probably not.
But, as probably Scotland’s most-kicked and least-protected player, apparently calling the referee’s attention to a deliberate off-the-ball kick is a crime worthy of trial by media and many Celtic fans have taken the bait.
|Kipre puts his studs into Scott Brown|
(And let's not forget that Motherwell's captain Carl McHugh later received no punishment for taking Tom Rogic out, missing the ball by some margin, while on a yellow card.)
Don’t get me wrong – I have no time for diving, histrionics, pretending to be hurt, “card,waving” or any other of the cynical behaviours that have become part of modern football and I have no wish to see Celtic players indulge in them.
But to blame Scott for Kipré’s card – saying that it was his reaction that got him sent off – is comparable to blaming someone who reports a crime which a judge later views more seriously than expected.
No, Kipré got himself sent off because this man, who is barely a footballer, uses physical intimidation and dangerous fouls as the only apparent weapons he has in his professional armoury (which is why he is in the Motherwell team) and has not yet learned that lashing out is unacceptable on a football pitch.
It is a lesson that a young Scott Brown learned against Neymar, who unlike Scott, reacted as if he had been beaten with a baseball bat.
Scott’s reaction, while receiving unusual sympathy from several pundits, was to accept full responsibility.
But let’s take a moment to consider Walker, who set the media agenda on this story, as being first to publicly comment always has the opportunity to do.
Many seem to have forgotten how many times Walker admitted “going to ground” as a player and defending his right to do so.
For example, when reacting to a Bayern Munich victory over Manchester City, Walker said:
“I did it on occasion. I don’t think I was flamboyant as [Arjen] Robben but if I wanted to make sure the referee had seen what I thought was a foul I would choose not to stay on my feet and go to ground.
“I would put pressure on the referee - what do you think ref? Is this a penalty or not? And sometimes it would go for you.
“A lot of people will say that’s cheating but I think cheating's part of the game, as unpleasant and distasteful as that sounds.”
Yes, it does sound distasteful, Andy. Scott Brown is not a cheat but you certainly were.
In fact, Andy – you’re pathetic.