JOCK BROWN was part of the Celtic managerial team that stopped the 10.

For the record, Wim Jansen was the manager, Murdo MacLeod was his assistant and Brown was the general manager. All three played a massive part in helping Celtic to win arguably the most significant League title in Scottish football history back in 1997-98.

Two of that trio are still lauded to this day. There has to a huge degree been an unfair airbrushing of the critical role that Brown played in that fateful, but ultimately wonderful, season for Celtic.

Brown was appointed to his position after being headhunted by then chief executive Fergus McCann in July 1997. McCann opted to go down the European route of appointing a head coach and general manager.

The Canada-based businessman outlined five areas that would come under the general manager's brief: performance, personnel, budgeting, staffing and recruitment/development. Brown's remit would also include conducting and concluding transfer negotiations as well as adopting most of the media duties. McCann believed that the high-profile job spec required someone with a legal background and that Brown would be best equipped to handle the role.

Brown spent 510 days in Paradise. It proved to be the most turbulent and eventful period of his career.

A Cambridge-educated lawyer and highly successful sports broadcaster in his own right, Brown revealed that he took the Celtic job - after knocking it back four times - because it eventually proved far too difficult to say no to McCann.

He also knew from the outset that there would be a target painted on his back after he was charged with the task of plugging the media leaks at the club. Almost overnight Brown became the Celtic spokesperson and the media's go-to guy.

He unsuccessfully argued his case with McCann that the insatiable and unforgiving Scottish press would not put up with having to deal with a guy that did not pick the Celtic team on a weekly basis.

Brown revealed that he also tried and failed to get McCann to reinstate former manager and most popular club figure, Tommy Burns.

Celtic Way:

Brown said: "I was approached initially four times and I said I wasn't interested.Eventually, the fifth time I thought we would talk about it and see what it was all about. Then I met the head-hunting people and from there my interest grew that was all.

"They asked me to meet Fergus and after speaking to him I was quite intrigued - it became impossible to turn down. I thought 'am I going to look back and regret this in 10 years or 20 years?' I decided I might well do, so I took the job and had a go at it.

"It was a joke that there were so many leaks at Celtic and part of my job description was to plug those leaks. It was impressed upon me that I was expected to deal with that. That put a target on my back straight away. Another thing that put a target on my back was the fact that the job description had me as the spokesperson and I did not want that. I argued about that with Fergus and I told him it would not work that way as he was trying to keep the head coach out of press dealings apart from the contractual pre-and post-match stuff.

"That doesn't work because the press guys want to speak to the guy that picks the team and they don't want to speak to anybody else really. Fergus couldn't understand that or agree with me on that and it was almost a deal-breaker. It was touch-and-go, I felt that it would all end badly. I had the idea that once I was in the door I would be able to persuade him and talk him out of that. I did try but I should have known better that he wasn't going to change his mind.

"But it was a bold move by Celtic to follow a European football model. In Europe, they called my position a sporting director or a director of football rather than a head coach and a general manager. I had no say in that, it was done and dusted before I took office.

"The other thing that was so difficult was that we did not have a head coach in place at the time and I got involved in the appointment of Wim Jansen. Fergus wouldn't entertain the thought of a British manager, he just wouldn't have it. I had one or two thoughts about British candidates but Fergus was not interested. It was hard to work in those circumstances at times. 

"The biggest tragedy for me was that I would actually have had Tommy Burns there. I would have been delighted to work with Tommy and I said that to him.

"Fergus asked my thoughts and I said 'bring back Tommy Burns and Billy Stark'. He disagreed with that and I asked why. I told him that relations might have been strained at the end of Tommy's reign with two of them but that wouldn't happen this time because I would be the middle man in terms of communication but, again, he wasn't having it. It would have been great to work with Tommy, I would have loved that."

READ MORE: Tosh McKinlay on Celtic under Tommy Burns, The Three Amigos and stopping the 10 - The Big Interview

It took Brown his first day on the job to realise the media machine that he was up against. He was labelled 'Joke Brown' by a tabloid newspaper before he had set foot inside Celtic Park and when the club signed Lubomir Moravcik the headlines were unforgiving.

There was also a perception out there that Brown was 'Rangers-minded'. 

He insists that nothing could be further from the truth as he grew up following Hamilton Academical. He was raised in a household whereby if Celtic and Rangers lost on the same day it was Irn-Bru and Mars bar time.

Brown said: "The press coverage I received was outrageous. The first morning I arrived at Celtic Park, I hadn't done a hands turn yet and I hadn't made a decision and I had not met anybody and the back page headline in one of the newspapers was 'Joke Brown'.

"I made a decision not to read the newspapers. It was Peter McLean, the Celtic PR guy at the time, who would make me aware of things that I needed to know. That day Peter said simply you've done nothing but there you go: 'Welcome to Celtic'.

"Lubomir Moravcik came in for less than £300,000 and the papers ran with the headline: 'Celtic sign dud Czech'. Everything about that was wrong.

"I know there was money offered by newspapers to anybody who could provide evidence of myself being seen at Ibrox with a Rangers scarf on. Peter told me that people were gunning for me with respect to the Rangers supporter thing and he asked me if there is anything he should know.

"I told him that he could go to his bed and sleep soundly. I was brought up in a house that where we were taught to hope that Rangers and Celtic lost every Saturday. That was true. My father was a professional player and he hated Rangers and Celtic. He would say both clubs got every refereeing decision going, that the crowd shouts and they would get a penalty.

"When we were small boys I would look at the football results hoping Rangers and Celtic would lose because I knew my father would come in with the bottles of Irn-Bru and Mars bars if they did. I had no inclination to either club growing up and neither was on my radar at all. I was at Cambridge University studying law when Celtic won the European Cup and I danced around all these English fans when that happened as they told me Inter Milan would hammer them. I gave them absolute pelters for that. But in terms of domestic football, the only scarf I owned was Hamilton Accies."

Brown concluded an astonishing 13 deals for players on his general manager's watch and the list is illustrious - Henrik Larsson, Lubomir Moravick, Paul Lambert, Craig Burley and Marc Rieper to name but a few.

However, Brown reckons he made two glaring errors by not leaking the managerial appointments of Wim Jansen and Dr Jo Venglos to the press. Nobody knew who was walking through the glass doors when both were unveiled.

Some newspapers wrongly ran with a story saying that Gerard Houllier was going to replace Burns after Brown had a meeting with the Frenchman in Paris while another prominent newspaper mistakenly had Portuguese Artur Jorge being unveiled as the new manager.

Meanwhile, Brown revealed that Houllier showed him his Liverpool contract straight off the bat. One name that did crop up though was that of Venglos. Amazingly Houllier coughed to Brown that he had followed and copied Venglos' blueprint to make France a great footballing nation once again after Les Blues had failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup finals in the USA.

Brown said: "Not leaking Wim Jansen's name to the press that was a mistake. I admit that was a mistake. That was part of the remit to do things that way. I realised it was wrong a year later.

"We brought in Dr Jo Venglos and I should have learned from the Wim situation. I should have leaked Dr Jo's name to the press. 

"It dawned on me then and the reason it dawned on me was that you may recall that Gerrard Houllier's name was mentioned for the Celtic manager's job.

"I met Houllier in Paris with a view to asking him the question as I was interested and I wanted to see the lie of the land.

"Before we started speaking he showed me his Liverpool contract. He told me he was going to Liverpool and I was not at all surprised when I saw his salary.

"He was a great man and we had a wonderful conversation. We talked about other coaches. Houllier told me when French football was in the gutter and he was charged with the task of dragging them up by the bootlaces he went to see Dr Jo Venglos.

"He followed the Venglos blueprint to get France back to the top of the football tree. The place was transformed and it was all based on his discussions with Venglos. I was like 'hold on a minute' and that is a wee bit special.

"I was spotted with Houllier and he was to be the man. One paper even wrote about it. They even called Houllier a dud because he was the guy that failed to qualify France for the World Cup in USA 1994.

"He was a dumpling initially. Over the next week or so people did better research and he all of a sudden became a star. So when Houllier signed for Liverpool, I then became the dumpling for not getting him to come to Celtic.

"If I was doing it again and I was bringing in a new coach to a club like Celtic, I would leak it quite deliberately. That would allow people to do the necessary homework and say how wonderful he is and then present him.

"While the Celtic board were delighted that I had brought in Wim without anybody knowing, deep down I knew I was going to take major flak for it. An exclusive in a newspaper was also written about Artur Jorge being the new Celtic manager and he would be unveiled on the day we introduced Wim.

"Journalists wasted time trying to find out but I was never going to tell them. Some, unfortunately, took flyers and ended up with egg on their faces. When things like that happen, journalists have the daggers out for me because I haven't bailed them out. At no point did a journalist phone me and ask if the new Celtic manager was going to be Artur Jorge. I might have done them a turn."

Brown is rightfully proud of being one of the Celtic management triumvirates who denied Walter Smith's Rangers their 10-in-a-row dream. If history and the Celtic supporters are being kind to him then it is fair to say that Brown did the job he was employed to do and then some.

Brown said: "I look back on my time at Celtic and I ask did I do the job as well as I should have or I could have? In that respect, I think I did. I did it all by being true to myself and also honouring the needs of the club. That's what you do. You do what you think is right all the way through.

"If you take the list of players that came in as new and the deals that I was involved in then the success rate for that 13 is quite incredible. I didn't pick the players but it was my job to conclude the deals and some of them were extremely difficult to get over the line especially at the right prices.

"We were also working to budgets. It was not simply a case of identifying a player and getting him and that was it. We had certain budgets, an amount to spend by way of a transfer fund and wages on offer and we needed a lot of players.

"That made it very difficult. Something always crops up in every deal which you have to overcome."
Celtic Way:

For those Celtic supporters that don't know it was Brown who saved the club a fortune and secured one of the greatest ever transfer deals in football history.

The £650,000 bargain fee that Celtic paid for Feyenoord's Henrik Larsson. It was Brown who pored over screeds and screeds of legal documents and papers and had them all translated from Dutch to English. It was on Brown's advice that the Glasgow club shelled out £650,000 and not a fee in excess of £2million by winning a tribunal. That critical role that he played in securing that deal alongside Lubomir Moravcik's always brings a smile to Brown's face.

He recalls how former Celtic stars Paul Lambert and Craig Burley insisted that Moravcik - who was signed for less than £300,000 - was the best player they had ever seen after just one training session.

It's no surprise, then, to learn that in an office in Brown's house three signed and framed shirts adorn the wall. One is Henrik Larsson, another is Lubomir Moravcik and the third ... is Davie Cooper's.

Brown said: "I am particularly happy about both the Henrik Larsson and Lubomir Moravcik deals. We were told Henrik had an escape clause in his contract for two million guilders which was £650,000.

"Feyenoord challenged that and took it to a tribunal. The Celtic board said to me: 'Are Feyenoord going to win'? I got all the papers, the contract documents from Feyenoord and through Larsson's agent.

"I got them all translated from Dutch and I then had to examine them and check Dutch law and report to the Celtic board. Feyenoord changed the goalposts and wanted £2 million for the transfer. Eventually, I had to advise the Celtic board that Feyenoord would lose the tribunal and the £650,000 would stand.

"That meant Celtic had to wait for the tribunal and Feyenoord wanted to do the deal beforehand and not risk losing the tribunal. They wanted to compromise and strike an in-between bargain and price for Larsson.

"I was out on a limb at this point and I told Celtic to sit tight as Feyenoord would lose the tribunal. I am taking absolute flak for delaying the deal. I had spent a lot of time on it and I told the Celtic board to wait and we would sign the player for £650,000. That's exactly what happened. The tribunal found against Feyenoord and Celtic got Henrik for £650,000.

"The Lubomir Moravcik deal was intriguing. Dr Jo told me that Celtic couldn't do the deal because I would get slaughtered. I asked him would he make the Celtic team better? He assured me he would.

READ MORE: Facing Henrik Larsson - Seven defenders he tormented open up on failing to stop the King of Kings

"I told him that I didn't care if I was slaughtered as long as the player made the team better. Dr Jo was trying to protect and look after me. He said I would get crucified for signing a 33-year-old Slovakian that nobody had heard of for pennies.

"We went to Bratislava to see him play. Lubo captained Slovakia against Portugal on a pissing wet night in Bratislava. Portugal had a great team. Slovakia had 10 pedestrians and Moravcik. He played Portugal himself.

"Within 15 minutes, I knew Lubo was signing for Celtic. I squeezed Dr Jo's arm and told him, 'We have got to sign this guy for Celtic'.

"I came back on a Friday and the dud headlines had already been written. The players came to me and asked what's this boy like and had I seen him play?

"They all asked what position he played and I told every Celtic player that he played in their position! He could have played in every position - he was that good.

"I told the Celtic players that he would be training on Monday and to tell me what they thought of him then. Paul Lambert was the first guy in after the training session on a Monday and his exact words were, 'Lubo is the best player I have ever seen in my life'.

"'Where has he been? How come we have not heard of him?' That's what Paul said to me after one training session. I told him I couldn't answer that question but the manager could.

"Craig Burley was next in and followed by the rest of the squad who just raved about Lubo. It was quite remarkable that nobody had heard of him really. I was quite ashamed as I thought I had a good knowledge of European football through the commentary. I had no idea who Lubo was. In an office in my house and I have three football shirts as gifts that were given to me adoring the wall.

"One is Henrik Larsson's, one is Lubomir Moravcik's and the third is Davie Cooper's. I got to know Davie as a man and the first interview he ever did on the TV was with Scotsport live in the studio in the 1980s.

"Through a mutual friend, I met him at a dinner, and I was speaking and I had a routine that involved mimicking commentator David Francey with references to Davie. I did the routine and thankfully he was falling about laughing.

"I introduced myself to him and he said he thoroughly enjoyed the skit. He then told me that it was a waste of time doing press interviews. I told him the way to do an interview was to do it live and that way nobody could misconstrue or distort his words. He came on Scotsport as long as I conducted the interview. He was an excellent speaker and from that day on we became firm friends.

"Those three shirts are real collector's items and they hang proudly on my wall in a room in my house."

Celtic Way:

Yet for every Larsson and Moravcik deal, there is a Jorge Cadete and Paolo Di Canio.

Brown is adamant that Cadete is the one that got away as the club were desperate to pair him with Larsson in Celtic's attack. Di Canio is the one problem that Brown is glad finally went away.

The Italian was infamously 'traded' to Sheffield Wednesday in a £4.5 million deal that included £1.5 million rated Dutch winger Regi Blinker heading to Parkhead.

Brown said: "The Jorge Cadete deal was a massive disappointment to me. Can you imagine Larsson and Cadete playing up front together for Celtic?

"The secret to the Cadete deal was club doctor Jack Mulhern. Jorge loved Jack and the feeling was mutual. We turned up at Cadete's house and Jorge was all over Jack hugging him like a long lost friend.

"We agreed a four-year deal and all terms and conditions were nailed down. In all the time we were there we saw Jorge's wife once but we were never ever introduced to her.

"Jack was cock-a-hoop that we had the Cadete deal in the bag and he was so excited about Cadete and Larsson playing together. I was more cautious and I told Jack that his wife never came to meet us at any stage. That bothered me in the taxi going back to the airport and I was convinced that because of that it wasn't done and dusted yet and we had a problem.

"Sure enough when we landed at Glasgow airport I had four voicemail messages on my phone to say that he wasn't coming. In one of those messages, Cadete was in tears. His wife just wouldn't come to Scotland. It was tragic.

"One of my biggest satisfactions in the whole time I was at Celtic was the trading of Paolo Di Canio. We had an asset who wasn't going to kick a ball for us, sitting in Rome, not going to play and rotting away.

"We could not get any money for him. To get him away from the club and get Regi Blinker in return and the amount of money that we did was a really pleasing deal for Celtic.

"Nothing was going to make Di Canio kick a ball for Celtic again. Here is the real brass tack. Di Canio was at Celtic for a season and the club won nothing. He was a wonderful player and his ability and fitness levels were phenomenal. He was a machine but he refused to go to Ireland to a training camp and he said it was better for him to stay in Rome and train and that was the beginning of the end.

"I think he was also ill-advised to be fair to him. He said that Fergus promised him a new contract if he did well at Celtic. I worked with Fergus and he would never do that in his life. I believe Paolo's agents in order to get him to sign for Celtic in the first place have concluded a deal and told him that if he did well then Fergus would renegotiate the terms and conditions the next summer. The agents may have filled Di Canio's head with that story but Fergus would never have said anything like that."

Despite the ups and downs, Brown maintains that he enjoyed a good relationship with McCann and Jansen initially.

Although Brown knew from very early on that Jansen was not in Glasgow for the long haul.

Brown said: "I had a great working relationship with Fergus during my time at the club. We still have a great relationship to this day.

"My relationship with Wim initially started off fine. It became a bit fractious latterly. When the chips were down and things were getting a little tense he came under external influences undoubtedly. I don't actually blame Wim for anything.

"He was just influenced and led when he shouldn't have been. He told us he only wanted to sign a 12-month contract. We persuaded him to sign a three-year contract with breaks in between each year to review things.

"I said to Fergus if he comes here and does well then there will be no way he will want to leave. That was my feeling. If he comes here and wins the league where else would he want to be. There is nowhere better. I really thought he would change his mind. I should have known better because he wasn't going to change his mind. As a man, and a person, I liked Wim. I liked him a lot. He caused a lot of problems towards the end of that season but I maintain that wasn't his doing."

Brown was indeed a soul whose intentions were good and maybe he was totally misunderstood at Celtic. The historical narrative has painted a different picture of him.

Thankfully that seems to have been rectified in recent years. Brown, fundamentally, loved his time as General Manager at Celtic. He says that it is a wonderful football club and intrinsic to Scottish society. He has no regrets and would do it all again given the chance.

Brown said: "Celtic is a magnificent football club. It is a terrific place. The big sadness for me was that I couldn't continue in my role. It was a two-year project and Fergus couldn't understand that. I told him that it wouldn't work for more than a two year period the way it was structured and that was me allowing for success.

"I have received a lot of messages and letters from Celtic supporters that were very supportive. I don't remember receiving any letters that were other than supportive. As time has gone on there have been more kind words said. Nobody, when I was doing the general manager's job at Celtic, came to me in a public place and abused me.

"The contrary happened actually and I found that amazing. Celtic Football Club is a very important place. It is a very important institution in Scottish life. That's why it has got to be very well run and it has got to have good staff, good standards, good ethics, good principles because it is so important to the fabric of Scottish society.

"When you think about that in isolation it is considerable. Celtic can be an influence for the good of the whole nation. I never had a problem going to work there every day.

"The people I met at Celtic Park were excellent and wonderful. My time there was fascinating and enjoyable. I enjoyed the work and the job as long as you don't read a newspaper it is rewarding. I have no bad feelings about it at all. I don't regret taking the job. I would gladly do it all again."

It is undeniable and an irrefutable fact that Brown was part of the Celtic management team that prevented Rangers from winning a landmark 10-in-a-row.

He was also a vital cog in the Celtic managerial machine and his contribution to Celtic's success during the 1997-98 season should not be forgotten.

His place in the Celtic history books deserves to be recognised forever and acknowledged.

For 510 days in Paradise, Brown gave his all for the green-and-white.