For the guts of a decade Celtic’s captain bore all the hallmarks of a textbook skipper.

When it came to motivational qualities, Scott Brown was not found wanting with his constant rallying calls in the pre-match huddle, on the pitch and in the dressing room.

New players referenced his influence, young players imitated him and few escaped his wrath if he thought they weren’t pulling their weight; Kris Ajer’s credentials were questioned in a way it is doubted the Norwegian would quite have understood as the club celebrated a double treble after the 2018 Scottish Cup final.

For some, there were question marks over the more pantomime and unnecessary elements of his game when it came to winding up opponents and opposition fans.

Whatever your take on that and the dignity the role should require, there are few who would quibble with the impact he had as Celtic captain or the leadership he displayed when sporting the armband.

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There were no real surprises when the role was handed over to Callum McGregor this summer following the arrival of Ange Postecoglou. A different character and personality entirely from his predecessor, McGregor’s difference in leadership should not be regarded as a negative, according to former Celtic midfielder Stiliyan Petrov.

“Paul Lambert was very demanding as a captain,” said the Bulgarian. “Neil Lennon was the same and made it clear on the pitch what he expected. Tom Boyd was different to that again but the best captain I played under in my career was Jackie McNamara.

“He didn’t have that about him. He wasn’t one for shouting and pointing but in actual fact I think took the role more seriously than anyone from an outside perspective would have realised.

“He was a caring guy. He knew his team-mates so well. Because of that he knew when things were off or when someone needed an arm around the shoulder. He could speak quietly to people and knew how to make them feel better. Not a lot of people see that side of things.

“I found him very relaxed which makes people around you relaxed but that is not to be confused with not expecting high standards. He just had a different way of trying to get that point across.

“He was never a guy that complained, Jackie. He was never on people’s back. He led by example, played wherever he was asked and gave his all for the team and players respected that about him.

“I think it is the same with Callum. You see his versatility and also he has a humility about him too.

“He is prepared to do what it takes for the good of the team and I think that sets a really positive example to everyone else. You know that he can see the team is bigger than anything else.”

If one of the hallmarks of McGregor is an ability to be calm when under pressure, there was something interesting at Pittodrie last Sunday when the winning goal went in. Last season Celtic drew with Aberdeen in October following a last gasp Lewis Ferguson penalty, a result that left them six points off of Rangers.

If it was the same end picture in terms of the league, yet it was a different atmosphere on Sunday as Jota’s goal gave them a badly needed win on the road. As green and white shirts surrounded the Portuguese teenager, McGregor could be spotted rushing to the visiting support, a celebration that may have had a few echoes of Brown in it.

“I think you could see how much it meant,” said Petrov. “It is about taking that commitment and passion now and transferring it into the team on a regular basis. I think everyone knew that it was going to be a season of a lot of changes to the team and you have to be patient in waiting for that to take hold.”

Petrov drew flak recently from former Celt Charlie Nicholas after he had been ushered into the TV studios at the last minute in the wake of Chris Sutton and Neil Lennon denied access to Ibrox. Nicholas questioned Petrov’s knowledge of the current set-up but the Bulgarian wasn’t for taking the bait; “I respect everyone. If I ended up like that I wouldn’t be true to myself’.

Back in Glasgow for commercial events and to catch up with former colleagues, Petrov has kept pace with the club and remains confident that Postecoglou’s side will solidify as players come back to full fitness and the belief within the side returns.

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Following the international schedule it is a demanding run for Celtic with games at Fir Park and Easter Road in between home games against Ferencvaros and St Johnstone.

“I like watching them,” said Petrov. “It is a team who are in transition but I like how they are trying to play football. I like the manager and how he talks about the game and his philosophy and I think coming out of a tough game like Aberdeen with all three points will have helped to foster some confidence within the team.

“There are still areas that need work and some of the goals conceded are too cheap but it will help when there is a fully fit squad available. It will give the manager options to change things and bring in some more experience with the likes of Christopher Jullien and James Forrest.”

Petrov scored 64 goals for Celtic, won four titles, three Scottish Cups, three league cups and was part of the side who made it to the 2003 UEFA Cup final. His work-rate, link-up play and sheer energy made him a valuable cog in Martin O’Neill’s side and while the game has moved on since then he remains keen to see midfielders chip in with goals as and when they can.

David Tunbull has scored six so far this term with Petrov expecting more to come from him.

“At times I think he wastes some of his energy in areas that he doesn’t need to be but that is something that comes with experience,” he said. “He has a bit of experience around him in Callum and it is important that he listens to that. If he pays attention to what people are advising him to do then he has the capability of becoming a real goal-scoring midfielder.

“Having that within the team can be so important because it alleviates the pressure on the forward players and it also means there are other areas where you know the goals can come from.”