STEVEN Whittaker says Scott Brown is still “a bit mad” off the pitch but deadly serious when it comes to winning.
The Hibernian defender will come up against his old friend and former Easter Road team-mate on Saturday when the Leith side run out against Celtic at Parkhead.
Whittaker knows his side will have to shut down the Hoops midfielder if they have any chance of becoming the first Scottish team to topple Brendan Rodgers’ men in 58 attempts.
But doing that will be easier said than done, with Whittaker conceding the Celtic captain is in the form of his life.
The Hibs right-back said: “I’ve seen people saying he’s playing the best football he’s ever played and he is definitely massive to the way they want to play.
“He sits there and dictates play and the pace of the game. A lot of Celtic’s play starts with him.
“He’s maybe a guy who doesn’t get the plaudits from outside but you can bet their changing room appreciates everything he does for the team.
“He came off against Anderlecht obviously so we’re not sure if he’ll be recovered in time, but if he is back he’ll be a guy we have to keep an eye on. I hope he does make the weekend so we can play against each other.
“Scott’s a great character. Anyone who knows him will speak highly of him. And it’s not just off the park, on it he’s a leader too.
“He can be a bit mad away from football still. He’s definitely entertaining and a great lad. We get on really well.
“He’s changed over the years. When he first broke through he was a bundle of energy and always up for a laugh. He’s mellowed a little bit now though – but he’s still got that determination to be a winner.”
The Hoops struck a blow for Scottish football this week when they beat Champions League rivals Anderlecht 3-0 in Brussels.
But Whittaker admits it will take a perfect showing from Hibs if they are to avoid the same fate as the Belgian giants.
“It will be difficult,” said the Scotland international. “They have talented players all over the park and we need to try and match them.
“We need to try and frustrate them when it’s on to frustrate them, keep the ball when it’s on to keep the ball.
“But we all need to be at the top of our game and look to take the game to them whenever we can.”
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