Former Celtic skipper Scott Brown admits his decision to “leave the limelight” of Scottish football and kick off his managerial career with Fleetwood could have backfired but he is delighted with the way things have panned out so far.
The 37-year-old, who also captained Scotland during a trophy-laden career, was named boss of the English League One side last May, two months after ending his playing career with Aberdeen.
Brown won 22 trophies during a 14-year stay with the Hoops including captaining them to nine league titles in a row and a quadruple treble.
He has now had an encouraging start with Fleetwood, who narrowly avoided relegation last term, currently 10 points clear of the drop zone and having enjoyed a run to the last 16 of the FA Cup that included wins over QPR and Sheffield Wednesday.
“It could have gone one way or the other, but I’m still in a job now,” he said, speaking from Celtic’s Lennoxtown base at a press call to promote his upcoming evening with former Hoops team-mate Mikael Lustig at Glasgow’s Ovo Hydro in May.
“Nine months down the line, I’m enjoying it, I’ve got a smile on my face and I’ve not got too many grey hairs so far. It’s a great place for me to learn and understand what it’s like to manage 23 players and have that expectation of winning games and trying to stay in the league.
“I’ve enjoyed going to different stadiums and coming up against different teams. I also enjoy being the underdogs. I knew it was always going to be a big challenge for myself coming to Fleetwood and trying to push the club forward.”
Brown, one of the most recognisable faces in Scottish football, has been happy to keep a lower profile down south.
“I’ve enjoyed coming away a little bit from the limelight up in Scotland, so hopefully the focus is more on the lads and not myself being ex-Celtic captain,” he said. “It’s all about the lads, it’s not about me. I’ve had my time, it’s about focusing on my management career now.
“I got an offer to stay in Scotland as well but the training facilities and everything that Fleetwood were offering was exceptional. You want a good academy with young ones coming through and a good training facility, and the chairman’s built a fantastic complex which he’s always trying to improve. For myself, as a first club, it’s a great place to be.”
Brown, who admits he loves watching Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic side from afar, is looking forward to his event with Lustig in May, which has been organised to give the pair a chance to say a proper farewell to the supporters after they ended their long stints with the Hoops in 2021, when football was behind closed doors due to Covid-19.
“I miss playing in front of 60,000 fans,” he said when asked what he misses most about being at Celtic. “I loved playing here. You always miss that but I go down the road and get peace and quiet, which is good.
“I always enjoy coming back up into Edinburgh and Glasgow and I’m really looking forward to seeing the Celtic fans at the event.
“It seems like a million years ago now since I left. This is the first time I’ve been back at Lennoxtown and it’s great to see some of the faces I’ve missed over the years.
“I didn’t get a proper chance to say goodbye to the fans as I left at the end of the Covid season when there was nobody in the stadium and then went up to Aberdeen.
“I know I came back as a player for Aberdeen but it was never going to be the same because I’d never say bye to them while I was at another club as that would be disrespectful (to Aberdeen), so this will be a great opportunity to say goodbye to the supporters.”