Bhoys hail Brown boost

Skipper back in action after ten weeks out

Brown: Back in action

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Celtic boss Neil Lennon hopes the return of Scott Brown will boost their faltering title challenge.

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Brown made his return from injury in the 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock on Tuesday night as Celtic missed the chance to climb above Old Firm rivals Rangers at the top of the table.

The Bhoys have won only one of their last five games to leave them trailing Rangers by two points and having played a game more than their old foes.

Brown has been out of action for ten weeks with a broken metatarsal and Lennon believes the return of the skipper can help lift the side for the second half of the season.

Influential

"He's a hugely influential player for us," Lennon said. "He came on and gave us that extra impetus and drive when we needed it.

"The first thing he did was go in for a really robust challenge and won the ball and lifted the team.

"I thought he was really excellent and he has been out for quite a while.

"To have him back is hugely beneficial considering that Ki is going away now."

Celtic have won the past 15 SPL matches that Brown started and Lennon believes his winning mentality will be crucial in their title bid.

"I think that rubs off on the rest of the players as well," Lennon added.

"Brownie can be the all-round midfielder, he is good at getting the ball back.

"He is probably not as technically gifted as the Kis and the Ledleys off this world but he gives you so much more in other departments.

"The timing of his comeback is perfect for us in terms of losing Ki for a few weeks."

Boost
Celtic striker Anthony Stokes believes Celtic have missed the influence of Brown, whose replacement as captain, Shaun Maloney, was last week ruled out for up to four months with an ankle injury.

"It's massive, he came on last night and gave us a real boost," said Stokes."He has been outstanding. He has only trained a few days and he came back last night and looked as sharp as ever.

"I think he is going to be a big, big player for us between now and the end of the season.

"Everyone was saying it to me last night, my friends were ringing and saying 'Brownie came on and did well, he puts his foot in'.

"He has got that quality on the ball too that makes a big difference in games. I think he showed that last night."