Scot Brown was at pains to extricate Scott Brown the pantomime villain with Scott Brown the up-and-coming manager as he looked ahead to this weekend’s Scottish Cup meeting between Ayr United against Rangers at Ibrox.
Keen to brush away an association so long-held with Celtic that his torso may well have been indelibly stained with green-and-white hoops after a 14-year spell that delivered ten titles, six Scottish Cups and six League Cups, Brown was all business as he tried to usher all focus onto Saturday’s game.
Asked about Rangers manager Philippe Clement’s suggestion that Brown “didn’t really like Rangers,” the former Celtic captain quipped; “I have a lot of love for Rangers,” before offering a straight face and a reminder of the long stare that was the hallmark of his playing career.
Brown would not be drawn on his favourite Ibrox memory – “there were a lot of them” – but did allow himself one nod to his colourful past at Ibrox.
“As long as I don’t rise to anything we should be ok,” he suggested.
“That’s all in the past now. This is going to be a great experience for the club, it’s going to be a great experience for the lads as well.
“I’m sure they’ll cherish it. You want to play against good teams and Rangers are a good team.”
Regardless of his aim to keep his players’ focus purely on the football there is little doubt that Brown will be assured a particular kind of welcome as he steps back into Ibrox, this time with a vantage point from the technical area rather than the pitch.
Ayr will bank a tidy sum from the game, which was enough to out a smile on Brown’s, although the grin will stretch a little wider if his side can cause the most unlikeliest of upsets.
“We are the underdogs,” he said. “We know that, but there has also been a lot of cup upsets as well and I’ve been part of them.
“It’s another game for us. We need to make sure we’re organised and we believe that we can do that.
“It’s a huge game for the club. It’s going to bring a lot of money in, which is fantastic as well, but at the same time we want to go there and be in the game.”
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