IT was in the pretty Slovenian city of Maribor when Brendan Rodgers first spoke about Scott Brown.

The new Celtic manager’s take was that his inherited captain was a good footballer who didn’t play enough good football. More than a few felt that Brown might not be part of the Rodgers revolution.

This was in the summer of 2016 when Brown joked to reporters that 'I might now just be good for carrying the bags of balls.'

But here we are, two-and-half years later, and the player who will turn 34 in June has been given a two-year extension; a deal Rodgers was desperate to get done.

The two are close, this played a big part in the skipper staying, and Brown, while tempted by a life in Australia, opted to stay and try to lead Celtic to ten league titles in a row. Also, he owes his manager for getting the best out of him.

“I was surprised at how good a footballer he is,” admitted Rodgers when asked about his first impression Brown. “I was surprised by his quality, I have to be honest.

“He probably had this stigma about being one who just tackles, but to play where he plays for a big club you need to have a personality to be that player in the middle of the field in big games.

“You need to have that mentality and instinct to dominate. Not too many players play the length of time that he has if they can’t play, because at a club like this they’ve had so many skilful and top-level midfielders, they know what a good midfield player looks like.”

Brown has been the heartbeat of Rodgers’s Celtic from the start. Those writing off the current player of the year clearly have no clue what he gives to his club and their readiness to go down the ‘the legs are gone’ line is influenced by their dislike for a player who they would love in their own team.

“When I first came here people would talk about the trips to Ross County or Inverness and what it was like to travel there,” recalled Rodgers. “I remember being at Inverness and he was preparing like it was a World Cup final. That’s the mentality.

"He never tires of it. He has this remarkable energy and focus to perform – and that comes from within.”

Rodgers admitted that there was a period when Brown staying for what will be his 14th season as a Celtic player.

But now Brown is going nowhere and will surely end his career at the club, he will soon overtake Jimmy Johnstone who sits third in Celtic’s all-time decorated list with 17 medals. Brown is just two behind.

“Not bad for a young guy from Fife,” said Rodgers. “It is funny because when you are sitting in hotels and you see some of the games that come on from way past and you think God, he used to play for Celtic' and then all of a sudden Brownie comes into the picture. And it seems likes ages ago.

“He has just had a remarkable career here and as he has gone on he has just got better and better. I think he has matured, the level of the game he has played for me has been absolutely top class. The thing for me is that he has still got his hunger which is important. He wants to succeed.

"Given the amount of time he has been here he was deserving of that chance to think about his life and his career. He is 34 at the end of this period. Another two years keeps him focussed and gives him that stability. It was a great signing for us in the window.”