Scott Brown has won five Scottish Cup Finals with Celtic and started in every one of them.
However, when the 135th of the competition’s showpieces kicks off at Hampden this afternoon, his old coach fully expects the Hoops captain to be looking on from the substitutes’ bench.
Johan Mjallby had Brown under his charge from 2010 to 2014, during his time as assistant manager to his former team-mate Neil Lennon.
Yet, as much as he is an admirer of the midfielder, his experience of working with Lennon at Celtic Park and at Bolton leads him to believe he will miss out this time.
“We love Scott Brown, not only for what he has been doing on the pitch but off the pitch as well,” said the Swede.
“He is a true Celtic legend, and he has been a tremendous leader over the last few years. But, at the same time, I think Neil will stick with Ismaila Soro.
“They have won the last two. Soro has been doing well and showing a lot of energy and the ability to win the ball back.
“Listen, it is really tricky, and I think it is tricky for Neil as well, because obviously Scott Brown is where he is.
“I think it is good for the team and the squad that they have more competition now from Soro playing really well and, hopefully, he will continue to do so.
“It is only going to be good because you need to give Callum McGregor a rest now and then as well, you know.
“Scott has been tremendous, but at the same time I think that Neil is going to stick with Soro for this game.”
Mjallby, who now lives back in his home city of Stockholm, acknowledges leaving Brown out of the starting XI will be a statement from the manager in terms of the pace of the development of the team.
As much as it would be a disappointment, he does not expect a negative reaction from the 35-year-old.
“I can guarantee with Scott it is Celtic first, himself second,” said the Swede.
“As a professional, I can’t expect him to be laughing and being happy to miss out on a Final, if that happens.
“But I do think he is clever enough to know it is up to him now, when he gets time on the pitch, to show Neil he should be in the team.”
Mjallby believes Lennon’s own future to be of more immediate concern.
Win today, and the club will be able to revel in the completion of a quadruple Treble. Lose, and the pressure will crank right up again.
“Obviously, I can’t deny they have been on this incredibly poor run,” said Mjallby.
“So I have sympathy for Neil, obviously, because he is under a lot of pressure – but that is his job.
“He is the manager, he is the boss, he has the finance and I know it is a team game.
“It is not only him. He has his back-room staff there as well, and I know that they are trying their hardest to change their situation. But, at the same time, I feel for Neil as a person.
“I know how much he loves Celtic. There is no other club he really wants to manage other than Celtic.
“At the same time, we all understand that the results need to improve, otherwise you run the risk of losing your job.”
Mjallby, meanwhile, hinted fans could one day see him back in the Celtic Park dug-out again.
“I can’t rule anything out but, no, Neil hasn’t asked me about coming back to Celtic,” he said.
“Sometimes I get the question: ‘Why can’t you go back and be part of it again?’. That’s not down to me though. I need to get the question first.”
Johan Mjallby was speaking at a William Hill media event. William Hill is the proud sponsor of the Scottish Cup.
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