Blackburn Rovers boss hails Celtic captain as ‘phenomenon’

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Former Hibs and Celtic manager Tony Mowbray has hailed Hoops captain Scott Brown as a ‘phenomenon’ of Scottish football.

The happy memories of Mowbray’s successful two-year stint in charge at Easter Road came flooding back on Sunday when he took his Blackburn team back to Leith for Paul Hanlon’s testimonial.

The likes of Brown, Kevin Thomson, Steven Whittaker, Garry O’Connor and Derek Riordan all flourished under Mowbray’s stewardship from 2004 and became known as the golden generation.

(Pic: Hibs TV)

Mowbray then worked with Brown for a second time during his ill-fated nine month time in charge of Celtic, but admits and he is proud to have played a part in helping shape a hugely successful career for the 33-year-old.

Mowbray, whose team beat Neil Lennon’s side 2-0 at the weekend, said: “I really enjoyed coming back and it brought back a lot of memories for me.

“I was fortunate to inherit a generation of some really good, talented footballers during my time here; the likes of Brown, Thomson, Whittaker, O’Connor, Riordan – then we added (David) Murphy, (Ivan) Sproule, (Dean) Shiels and (Guillaume) Beuzelin – and they were happy days, good days.

“Those players went on to build their careers but we pointed them in the right direction and gave them some guidance.

“I’ve really enjoyed the last ten years in football watching Scott Brown’s emergence as the captain of Scotland and Celtic, and the phenomenon of Scottish football that he has become.

“Even seeing Whitts back here is great and I keep an eye on how they’re all doing, they were happy and good times and I’m sure there is great times ahead for Hibs because Neil is a top manager and I’m sure he’ll drive them in the right direction.”

The money the club generated in transfer fees from the golden generation helped finance the club’s training centre, which opened in 2007 at a cost of £5 million.

Mowbray had already left for West Brom by that time but is delighted to see that vast improvements have been made to the infrastructure.

Speaking to Hibs TV, he added: “I haven’t been to the training ground yet but it’s a visit I’d like to make to see how the club has moved on from the days of jumping in a minibus and finding a school playing field to train.

“They have a fantastic manager and some very good players here at Hibs.

“As a follower of Scottish football, I hope Hibs have another good, positive season.

“I certainly wish Neil and his side all the best because it is a great club here. There are good times ahead I’m sure.”

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