A childhood pal of Celtic captain Scott Brown recalled how the top footballer was not tipped for success as a 16-year-old and used to eat entire packets of biscuits at a time.

Brown, 34, started his career playing for the Hibs youth teams at Easter Road - but nearly missed out on a full time contract as bosses were unsure about signing the wayward teenager.

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He went on to captain Scotland and is adored by Celtic fans for bringing the team to the top of the SPFL with a nine-in-a-row triumph earlier this week.

But a pal who played with Brown from the age of 14 recalled how Hibs were on the fence about offering him a full-time contract.

Jonathan Baillie, also 34, went through the ranks with Brown but said the star footballer was in great shape despite always eating - and could devour a packet of biscuits in five minutes.

He described Brown's playing style as 'just running about' and said aged 17 he began to become more disciplined.

Mr Baillie said: “Scott and I were the same age so we played together through 14s, 15s and 16s.

“You listen to a lot of players now saying it was the best days of their career and it really was, being that daft 16-year-old, just playing football and carrying on every day.

“The stuff we used to get up to in the dressing room, and going out to train with your mates, we didn’t have a care in the world.

“You couldn’t tell at that time that Scott Brown would go on to have the career he’s had.

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"Not really at the age.

"He was unbelievably fit for a lad that could soften a packet of biscuits in five minutes.

"He just ate, and was full of carry on.

“He played up front most of the time or out wide, and he would just run about.

"But from 17, 18, 19 he just improved so much.

"You couldn’t see him going on to be as good as he has, but I suppose if you’ve got that base level of fitness you can always get better in other aspects.”

Mr Baillie retired from Hibs aged 21 due to a back injury but was thrilled to see his friend sign to Celtic for a record transfer fee of £4.4million in 2007.

He said Brown had not changed at all since he was a teenager - and that Hibs had been undecided about whether to continue with him despite his talent.

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Mr Baillie said: “I’m not sure if Hibs actually wanted to bring him in full-time.

"I think there was a bit of to-ing and fro-ing about whether to offer him a contract.

“Looking back, what a mistake that would have been, but thankfully they did.

"He’s a great lad as well.

"Nothing phased him as you can imagine nowadays, he’s just the same as he was back then."