James Forrest hailed the leadership skills of Scott Brown after the Celtic captain got under the skins of Rangers players throughout his side’s fractious 2-1 derby victory at Parkhead.
Brown provoked Alfredo Morelos into elbowing him in the face and getting a red card with a minor clip of the heel just after Odsonne Edouard had given Celtic a deserved lead 27 minutes into the Ladbrokes Premiership contest.
The midfielder was later on the receiving end of Ryan Kent’s forceful hand to the face in the wake of Forrest’s winner in an incident that looks likely to earn the Rangers goalscorer a retrospective ban.
And the 33-year-old continued winding up the Rangers contingent after the game as Andy Halliday received a second yellow card after taking umbrage with Brown’s celebrations in front of the visiting fans.
Forrest said: “He’s unbelievable for the squad on and off the park. I’ve never played with anyone who has got so much about him. You see him on the park, he just gets everyone working.
“I don’t know what happened with the red card but he is always keeping going, he is always fighting and you see him at the end, he is a real plus to have in the team.”
Gers boss Steven Gerrard criticised Brown for celebrating in front of the away fans but Forrest defended his skipper.
“It’s an Old Firm game and everyone wants to win, their players are the same,” the winger said. “With the shift Browny puts in and what he’s done for the team, he is obviously buzzing and it’s a big result.”
The post-match tussle between Brown and Halliday resulted in a mass melee with Mikael Lustig’s shirt almost being ripped off and Rangers substitute goalkeeper Wes Foderingham and winger Daniel Candeias both appearing to remonstrate with stewards.
Defender Joe Worrall was not keen to get involved as he clapped the Rangers supporters.
“I’ve never been a big fan of getting involved in stuff like that,” he said. “I just leave them to it. Most of our players do.
“It is what it is. I’m sure if the shoe was on the other foot they would probably moan about us.
“I don’t get involved with that stuff. It’s a defeat we are all frustrated with, get yourself down the tunnel and leave it. I didn’t really see what went on.”
Worrall was more concerned with the goals that saw Celtic extend their lead to 13 points. Celtic broke quickly following loose passes from Candeias and then James Tavernier before finishing clinically.
“It’s frustrating,” Worrall said. “We have done it a couple of times this season and that’s why there is such a big gap at the top. We are our own worst enemy at times.
“I think we play some really, really good stuff. We should score and then we go and make mistakes like that. But it is what it is, it’s football, and that’s why it’s the sport we all enjoy.
“I just think that looking back on it, we can be proud of what we did in that second half with 10 men. We had 10 men in he second half and we outplayed Celtic at their place.”