For new Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass, the magnitude of signing Scott Brown is underlined by how much Celtic wanted to keep their inspirational captain.
Such was Celtic’s desire to retain their skipper, Glass revealed they launched a last-gasp bid while he was in the Granite City signing a pre-contract at Pittodrie.
That Brown was willing to reject the offer of a new deal at Celtic to move to Pittodrie also, for Glass, gives further weight to his belief that successful times lie ahead for the Dons.
As statements of intent for a new managerial regime go, they do not come much bigger than wrestling away the captain of the most successful club in Scotland in recent years, who led Celtic to a historic quadruple treble.
Glass hailed the 35-year-old as an “incredible” player who is an “ultimate professional” and “absolute winner” who still has years left in the tank.
Brown will join the Dons in the summer on a two-year deal in a player-coach role.
Add the capture of England squad striker coach Allan Russell as assistant manager and Glass has already made two formidable, high-profile signings.
Glass said: “We have signed the Celtic captain who is still playing for Celtic and that Celtic still want. The player we are getting in Scott Brown is incredible.
“You see him playing now and he looks like he can play until he is 40. That is probably the next job, convincing him he can.
“I think he wants to play as long as he can, as well as he can.
“He is an ultimate professional, an ultimate winner.
“Having Scott be part of this carries a lot of weight.
“Scott and Allan both choosing to be part of this shows I am right in thinking this will be a success. But time will tell.
“Nothing is 100% on that – you have to make it work.”
Brown, who won 21 trophies with the Parkhead club, rejected the offer of a one-year contract at Celtic in favour of the Dons.
Such is Brown’s status, Glass used his potential signing to help illustrate his vision for the club while being interviewed for the vacant managerial position.
When he beat other candidates to the post, his next step was moving to land Brown – but Celtic were desperate to scupper that.
He said: “I had a lot of conversations with Scott.
“I said if I got an opportunity at interview could I include him and he said he would like that chance.
“When I got offered the job, the next step was to get Scott done.
“The fact that Peter Lawwell (Celtic chief executive) said they tried desperately to keep Scott Brown says everything about him.
“I know for a fact they did on the last day that he was up here signing his pre-contract.
“They were desperate to keep him and there were people trying to convince him not to come.
“He’s not here for the money. He’s here for the opportunity, for trust and the environment he’s going to be working in.
“Scott is so important to what we are going to do here.”
Glass insists having, and forging, an environment based on trust is fundamental for incoming midfielder Brown.
That trust has existed between Glass and Brown for almost two decades as they forged a friendship as team-mates at Hibs.
Glass, who enjoyed a successful career at Pittodrie before moving to Newcastle United in the English top flight, played for Hibs from 2003-07.
That trust was a given between Glass and his friend, but now it has been forged between the incoming former Scotland skipper and the Pittodrie board.
Glass said: “There’s a trust there and for what Scott does next he needs trust.
“And he trusts the people who are in charge at this club.
“He trusts Allan (Russell), they’ve got a good relationship already, and he knows what this club can offer him as a learning environment to be as good a coach or manager one day – whether that’s here or elsewhere.”
Glass was one of the senior players at Easter Road when Brown was part of the Edinburgh club’s group of emerging youth talent that included Garry O’Connor, Derek Riordan, Steven Whittaker and Steven Fletcher.
Glass said: “I was a senior player who could help the young players at Hibs.
“I put it to Scott ‘do you want to come and be that?’. We sold a huge number of season tickets that year at Hibs because of what we did on the pitch.
“This is where I think he was able to be attracted to what we offer. Scott has played against Aberdeen enough to know how big a club it is.
“The situation is very similar to when Tony Mowbray walked in at Hibs. You might say he was an inexperienced manager but he had been a coach at Ipswich and played a certain style. He was very forward-thinking.”
Glass left Hibs in 2007 for Dunfermline before emigrating to the United States in 2010.
He said: “I kept in touch with Scott. A lot of people probably didn’t know I was friendly with him and that’s part of the trust level I’ve had with Scott.
“In the last 15 years there’s so many people who’ve wanted to say ‘I’ve done this for Scott Brown’.
“I’ve never been in the papers saying I’m Scott’s mate.”
Before they link up in the summer, Glass and Brown are set to go head to head on Wednesday when Celtic visit Pittodrie on Premiership business.
Glass said: “I was talking to Scott before the interview process, but I’ve backed off a bit since.
“I do speak to him, but less so because I’m very respectful of Scott’s position at Celtic and of Scott’s respect for Celtic.”
Silverware, a packed Pittodrie and bringing through young talent – Stephen Glass outlines what success looks like in first press conference of Aberdeen reign https://t.co/s2hFRUCNsA pic.twitter.com/09Gf6CnY6a
— EveningExpress Sport (@ee_sport) April 16, 2021