January 2, 2013
Brown: SPL title race far from over
Team Stat Comparison
|Goals for *||2.7||1.7|
|Goals against *||0.7||1.4|
|Last 5 home||W-W-W-W-W||W-W-D-W-W|
|Last 5 away||W-D-L-D-L||L-L-W-W-D|
|* Goals per match - home matches for home club and away matches for away club|
|Stats: Celtic | Motherwell|
|12/14||H: Hibernian||12/14||A: Ross County|
|12/21||H: Heart of Midlothian||12/21||H: St Mirren|
|12/26||A: St Johnstone||12/26||A: Aberdeen|
|12/29||A: Inverness Caledonian Thistle||12/29||A: Partick Thistle|
|1/1||H: Partick Thistle||1/1||H: St Johnstone|
Scott Brown has stepped outside the common consensus by insisting that Celtic do not already have the Clydesdale Bank Premier League title in the bag.
Despite the 1-0 defeat by Hibernian at Easter Road on Saturday, which ended a six-match winning run, Neil Lennon's men remain six points ahead of Inverness and with a game in hand.
The Celtic manager's demeanour in the post-match press conference appeared to be of a man who, in the knowledge that traditional rivals Rangers are playing in the Irn-Bru Third Division this season, believes his side are in little danger of losing their SPL crown, a belief shared by almost everyone in Scottish football.
However, ahead of the visit of Motherwell, Parkhead skipper Brown refused to agree.
"The league is far from over,'' he said. "It is definitely not done and dusted. It was shown against Hibs that it is hard no matter where you play, home or away.
"It's been difficult for us recently but we have to kick on with our home form and get back to winning ways. We have to keep going.
"We are a few points clear and we have a game in hand as well so that is going to help us, but it is going to be tough against Motherwell.
"They have got some good young players, they started off the season well and then had a little dip but they seem to be going really well again.
"So it's going to be a tough game, it is going to be hard but hopefully there will be a big crowd and we get back to winning ways.''
The visit of the Steelmen will be the last SPL game Celtic will play before the winter break which Brown believes will be beneficial to the squad.
Chris Humphrey feels fellow Motherwell winger Jamie Murphy's imminent move is overdue reward for his form.
Murphy looks set to play his last game for the club in Wednesday's Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash at Celtic Park after holding talks with npower League One promotion hopefuls Sheffield United.
Murphy rejected a move to Blackpool on the final day of last January's transfer window in order to help Motherwell seal a slot in the Champions League qualifiers but his salute to the Fir Park fans following Saturday's 2-2 draw with Kilmarnock looked like a farewell.
Manager Stuart McCall expects the 23-year-old to move on after the Celtic Park clash and Humphrey feels his team-mate will go on to bigger things.
The Jamaica international said: "I'm sure it will be emotional for him and I'm sure it was emotional for his last home game. But he will be looking forward to it and will want to leave on a high.
"He has been terrific for the four years that I have been here. I think it's a long time overdue. He has done terrifically well and I wish him all the best.
"Obviously we will see him for the game on Wednesday but he deserves everything he gets because he has been fantastic.''
Murphy has scored nine goals in his last 13 games from midfield and Humphrey believes his friend can improve further.
"I think he can be unbelievable,'' the former Shrewsbury winger said. "He has always had the right head on him to do well and I think he can go on to big things.''
Murphy has a difficult game to make a farewell impression with Motherwell having scored just three times in their last 12 visits to Celtic Park, although that meagre return has yielded four points and they sit just six points behind Celtic.