IF you asked a cross-section of Scottish football fans to describe Celtic captain Scott Brown - once you had edited out the various obscenities that would likely follow - the one phrase that would pop up more than any other would likely be this; He is a player you hate when he plays against you, but you would love to have him in your team.

There may be Rangers supporters who would dispute that, but as far as Ibrox legend Archie Knox is concerned, Brown is the type of leader that Steven Gerrard’s side are crying out for.

“Absolutely,” said Knox. “A player like that anyway.”

And as the former Rangers assistant manager considered Brown’s credentials, he became even more convinced that a leader and a winner like him, cut from the same cloth as the players who worked under him at Ibrox like a Richard Gough or a John Brown, should be top of Gerrard’s shopping list this summer.

“He has won 19 trophies with Celtic, and that’s a remarkable achievement,” he said.

“I remember giving him his first cap for the Scotland under-21s against France up at Pittodrie. He played wide right at that time with Hibs, and I remember him telling me before that game that he likes playing in the centre more. I said: ‘Aye, I know, but that’s where you’re playing the morra.’

“But he’s a lad who has really worked hard at his game and improving his game and having that personality to influence a team and guys round about him. He’s done very, very well. And Rangers need someone of that stature.

“The guys they have brought in like Ryan Jack have done well, Scott Arfield too, but they need a big leader. Every team needs a big leader. Richard Gough was a big leader, and there were loads of leaders at Rangers in those days.

“In the dressing room, you need that. You need a big influence and someone who will have their say in the dressing room and others will listen to them.

“The boy [James]Tavernier might be that guy, I don’t know, but they need a few of them. Leaders. They need a few of these guys. Rangers need that. They definitely need that level of player right throughout the team.

“As far as I’m concerned, they have a bit of catching up to do to even come to the level where Celtic are at the minute, which is proved.”

If anyone knows about the pressures that lie ahead of Celtic as they enter the home stretch of their long quest to break the record of nine league titles in a row, it is Knox.

As Walter Smith’s number two, he was at the heart of Rangers’ march to a ninth consecutive title win back in the 90s, managing to equal the record but ultimately falling short in their quest to topple it.

He knows that this season, as Celtic go for their ninth consecutive title, the intensity on the domestic competition will be massively heightened, and it will be who handles that pressure the best – whether that is to equal the record or to stop it - that will come out on top.

“[Nine-in-a-row] was many moons ago, but great times,” Knox said. “At that particular time the only real pressure I felt was the game at Parkhead [a 1-0 win in March, 1998].

“I remember coming out of the dressing room as Walter and I were always last out and we would shake hands and wish each other the best just as we were walking out of the tunnel. I turned and said to Walter, “I don’t think my heart can take much more of this. I thought my heart was about to burst through my jersey that day. Walter said, “Neither can mine.

“On that day we felt the real pressure, but I honestly can’t remember feeling stressed in any of the other game or anything like that. We had faith in the guys we were dealing with as we had a great group of players.

“[But] there’s no doubt next season is all about the title. That’s why Celtic, their fans and everyone connected with the club is aiming for that, there’s no doubt about it. Rangers will be equally determined to stop that.

“They need to be on a par with Celtic in terms of the quality of player they are going to manage to bring in.

“It definitely will be more intense next season. The demands the supporters put on the teams will be unbelievable, especially if you are getting into the season and nobody has stolen a march on the other. If it’s Even Steven, then it will grow and grow and grow.

“In the seven years I was at Rangers, there was never a period where you thought: ‘We’ll get away with this’. And both teams are the same, you have to win every game.

“There’s no other way of looking at it. You can’t look to go to Pittodrie for example with a few injuries and think you don’t still have to win.

“I think both teams will be looking at that right from the word go, hence why the recruitment has to be top-notch.”

*Archie Knox was speaking ahead of a match at Hampden in support of Children 1st and the Tartan Army Children’s Charity. To donate and take part in the game, or to buy a ticket for a draw to take part, visit www.children1st.org.uk/Hampden