‘We played really well on a proper football pitch’: Scott Brown bemoans state of Celtic Park surface after enjoying playing at the Mestalla
- Celtic held their own in a 1-0 defeat at Valencia in the Europa League
- The Hoops were second best in the 2-0 loss to the Spanish side in the first leg
- Scott Brown says improved showing was largely down to the playing surface
Skipper Scott Brown hit out at the Celtic Park pitch after enjoying the Mestalla’s playing surface during the Europa League defeat by Valencia on Thursday night.
The Hoops were second best in the 2-0 loss to the Spanish side in the first leg in Glasgow last week but were more than holding their own in the return game until the 37th minute, when German right-back Jeremy Toljan, on loan from Borussia Dortmund, was sent off for picking up the second of two bookings.
The 10-man Hoops remained calm and organised but were undone in the 70th minute by a goal from substitute Kevin Gameiro which gave the home side a 3-0 aggregate win.
Skipper Scott Brown hit out at the Celtic Park pitch after his team’s visit to the Mestalla
Brown says Celtic performed so well in Spain because Valencia’s pitch was much better
In January Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers revealed the Celtic Park’s new pitch has been struck down by a ‘slight disease’, and after a gruelling 90 minutes in Spain, midfielder Brown made his own comparisons.
He said: ‘We played really well, played proper football on a proper football pitch, and until the sending off we were the better team, creating chances, and we just didn’t get the ball in the back of the net.
‘The first performance back at Celtic Park wasn’t good enough but then again you look at the difference of the pitches.
‘Their pitch was incredible and we knocked the ball about really well. Celtic Park is not so good just now.
The Hoops were well beaten in the first leg on their own pitch at Celtic Park last week
‘Hopefully our pitch gets better and we go on a good run in the league now. We spent a lot of money on the park and it is not up to the standard that we want it to be.
‘We don’t want AstroTurf pitches, we want proper pitches. But we need to make sure we’re looking after the pitches and we have the best quality pitches for the SPFL so there is good football and it is not just kick and hope.’
Brown conceded Toljan’s sending off, for a foul on midfielder Goncalo Guedes, was ‘always going to be the turning point of the game’.
He said: ‘The red card decision is very soft, a bit harsh, but that’s European football for you. Sometimes you get away with them, sometimes you don’t.
Celtic’s job became far tougher before the break when Jeremy Toljan was shown a red card
‘We still tried to play our way, to focus on keeping the ball and creating chances, but it is always going to be hard against 11 men.
‘They are a top quality team, they have got great players and they are always going to create chances.
‘If we had kept 11 men on the park we would have had a good chance. If we had scored a goal we would have put them in a sticky position but it wasn’t to be.
‘We will learn. We let ourselves down in the second half of the first game but it is a learning experience for us and we need to make sure we kick on.’
Kevin Gameiro came off the bench to kill of hopes of a stay of execution in Europe for Celtic