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6:55:04 AM
Scott Brown rules out Premiership switch after pledging future to Celtic

SCOTT BROWN last night pledged his future to Celtic and insisted he isn't interested in a big-money move to the Premiership.

The midfielder has been linked with a £9million January transfer to Portsmouth and other clubs in England are likely to be keeping an eye on him.

The credit crunch has had a crippling effect on some of the biggest outfits down south and West Ham are just one top-flight side who have made every first-team player available.

Celtic boss Gordon Strachan insisted his club are in a "different world" to those outfits and don't need to sell anyone. That is music to the ears of Brown and the club's supporters.

He said: "I'm a Celtic player and I'm enjoying it just now. I want to keep that going. I'm enjoying winning games and looking forward to the future."

Brown was gutted when Celtic crashed out of Europe this season after the group stages of the Champions League and no one at Parkhead is more determined than the 23-year-old to get right back among the Continent's elite. Premiership clubs might be preparing mega-money bids to lure the midfielder to England but what they don't have is the expectation of playing in the Champions League next season.

Brown said: "That's the main thing. Everybody wants to play European football.

"We were a bit disappointed we didn't go further this season in the Champions League but there is always next year."

Strachan has enjoyed plenty of success in England but his presence at Parkhead is also a big reason why Brown refuses to entertain speculation linking him with a move to FA Cup winners Portsmouth.

After signing for the Celtic boss in May 2007 he has won the title, established himself as a Scotland international and is looking for his second SPL winner's medal in two seasons - which, of course, brings with it a place in the Champions League.

Brown looks the complete footballer at the moment but admits he has his manager to thank for that.

He said: "You always look at your second, third, fourth and fifth seasons to go and keep improving as a player.

"It has helped that the gaffer has stayed here. He has been great in showing me how to play in different positions."

Brown is in the form of his life but a sponsor's man-of-thematch award couldn't mask the disappointment of throwing away a two-goal lead over Dundee United on Saturday.

He said: "I'm playing well but it is a team game. It is not about the individual. We have all been doing quite well but the only disappointing thing was in the performance in the second half."

Many thought the title was in the bag for Celtic following their 1-0 victory at Ibrox last week that saw them pull seven points clear of Rangers but Brown insisted the Parkhead players took nothing for granted.

The weekend results saw Rangers narrow the gap to five points and Brown said: "We never thought the title race was over. We still have 20 games to go so we have to keep proving ourselves over that period."

Dundee United have snatched points from Glasgow's big two stadiums and could have easily returned to Tayside with much more.

Fourth-placed Hearts also earned a draw at Parkhead on December 13 to show that the Old Firm are not as invincible as they once were.

And Brown reckons teams throughout the SPL can still have a big say in the title race.

He said: "The scares are always there with every team that comes to Celtic Park and Ibrox. They want to prove they're just as good as us.
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