Celtic manager Neil Lennon has played down criticism of captain Scott Brown, insisting he is valuable to the club.
The 25-year-old midfielder switched to Parkhead from Hibernian for £4.4million back in 2007, but certain quarters have suggested the Hoops overpaid for his services.
Lennon claims he has never questioned the position of his skipper, and is expecting a good campaign from him after a solid pre-season.
He said: "There's this apparent conundrum about Browny, but I don't see where all the criticism comes from at times.
"Since I've taken over he's been very consistent and again pre-season and coming into the season he's been very good.
"He's a very strong player for me and I thought as the Utrecht game went on he got better and better so I've no worries or qualms about his performances since I've taken over and I think there's more to come from him, as well."
Lennon is embarking on his first full season in charge of the Hoops, and he believes the spirit in the camp will see them through.
"There's a good spirit among the players, we've got good personalities," he added.
"I like their character and what they've brought to the club, but then I liked the nucleus of the squad we had last year as well so there's a good balance and blend there.
"It's very early for clear-cut opinions, until their backs are against the wall we won't know what character they will have, but the early signs have been promising."