Celtic captain Scott Brown has insisted that he has heard it all before when it comes to gossip about his legs been gone.

The 33-year-old turned down a move to Australia last week in order to remain at Celtic for a further two seasons, a contract that will finish his playing career with the Parkhead club.

There was a suggestion earlier in the season when Brown was injured that he would be gradually phased out of the Celtic midfield but the player has laughed off those who claimed that his time was drawing to a close, pointing out that he endured a similar scenario when Rangers beat Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-final following a penalty shoot-out at Hampden in 2016.

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“That puts a smile on my face,” he said when questioned about the gossip around him. “It just makes me go out and work harder to prove to everybody that I can still do it.

“That [2016 semi-final] was three years ago and people were saying my legs had gone. I hadn’t heard it all before as I don’t read. But people walking in the streets told me they’d read in the paper that my legs had fallen off.

“I was like ‘what – the second time?’

“I don’t think I have to prove a point to anybody.

“For me, I’ve done well over my 12 years so far.

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“I’m willing to take it. I’m big enough and ugly enough. I’m 33 now and if someone is going to write to me on Twitter saying I’m finished I’m really going to cry myself to sleep at night…”

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers praised Brown in the aftermath of his side’s 2-0 win over St Johnstone on Sunday afternoon, believing that his captain elicited the qualities that have been the hallmark of his game, particularly in recent seasons.

For all that the midfielder laughed off any suggestion that his time might have been up at Celtic, he nevertheless conceded that age caught up with him in in one regard following almost six weeks out of the team.

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“I feel I’m getting back to full fitness now. It takes a bit longer when you get a bit older,” he acknowledged.

“I used to just get chucked into a game after six to eight weeks out and be fine.

“But it takes that little bit longer to get your sharpness back more than anything. It’s okay saying you’re fit and can run about. It’s that two or three yard burst to get past somebody and play that pass that takes time.

“I’d you don’t feel 100 per cent you might play a sloppy pass.”

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