Premier League

December 8, 2012

Full-time

Kilmarnock

1 - 3

Celtic

Premier League

12:30 +00:00, December 8, 2012

Rugby Park, Scotland

Referee: Craig Thomson

Brown tired of surgery talk

Scott Brown won a £20 fun wager with Celtic manager Neil Lennon for scoring his first goal since March in the 3-1 win over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park but finished the afternoon unhappy after being quizzed about his ongoing hip problem.

The captain's battle with the injury has been the theme of his season and at one stage he revealed he would delay an operation until the Hoops had qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League, which they achieved with a 2-1 home win over Spartak Moscow on Wednesday.

Brown was the star man against Killie, opening the scoring with a drive in the 27th minute and setting up Joe Ledley for number two after the break, allowing the Wales midfielder to also collect £20 from Lennon.

Substitute Georgios Samaras grabbed a third with a header before former Celtic striker Cillian Sheridan scored a last-gasp consolation for Killie.

Brown started off the post-match press conference joking that he would spend his winnings "on the deposit on a house" but was then at odds with Lennon's claim that he had recently taken a cortisone injection, saying: "I haven't had an injection in a long time."

After being asked further about the injury, the mood of the Scotland midfielder changed and he said: "I think we have had enough talk of this surgery.

"It is boring me now, so I think we will get on to other things and look forward to the next game. We have a big game on Wednesday against Arbroath and that's the main thing."

He then abruptly left the room.

Earlier, Lennon had waxed lyrical about his skipper after revealing he had lost his bet with Brown and Ledley, who scored his first goal since notching against Helsinki in a Champions League qualifier in August.

The Hoops boss said: "I had a £20 bet with both of them before the game, so I am £40 out of pocket. I wanted them to chip in with some goals.

"Joe is capable of that and Scott has it in his game as well but their overall game pleased me as well as the goals. I thought Scott had a great game. He was back to his best. He looked brilliant. He is a quality player. His discipline and maturity has improved.

"Since the last injection he had he has looked more and more like himself. The last one (injection) was around two and half weeks ago and it usually takes 10 days to see the full effect.

"He is making the call - obviously the physio as well, but we trust his judgement. We know it is not ideal. It's not ideal for him to have surgery either as we don't know if that is going to really resolve the problem.

"We might have the chance to give him a rest but if he is playing like that I am not going to rest him. But Joe Ledley will have to have a rest because he has the same problem."

Lennon, who described one report linking Liverpool with Samaras as "speculation... I don't think he will be in a hurry to leave," added: I thought we were brilliant today. I think the players looked like they enjoyed themselves.

"I couldn't have asked for a better performance on the back of Wednesday and I thought the third goal epitomised everything that is good about this team.

"I think every outfield player touched the ball before we worked it to Adam (Matthews). It might have looked an easy finish but Samaras was in the right place to score, so it has been a great day for us."

Killie boss Kenny Shiels believes Celtic will tighten their grip on the domestic game now that qualification for the knockout phase of the Champions League, which resumes in February, has been secured.

He said: "I think there is a distinct clarity for Celtic now as to how they are going to approach the next few months. You could see in their body language that there is a great relief in achieving what they have achieved and now they can concentrate on domestic football.

"I knew they were going to be very positive having fulfilled their ambition of qualifying for the Champions League (last 16). It has a big bearing on how they felt within themselves and you could see that.

"That is the best Celtic have played in a long time, I would say. It bodes badly on us as we have to play them in December and January."