BEING Celtic captain isn’t all about winning trophies and trebles. Having the capacity to be a human flak-jacket for the rest of the squad when things aren’t quite going your way comes as an integral part of the job description.

Scott Brown is as equally accustomed to both facets of the role, so it is no surprise to see him offering himself up as a magnet for the criticism that has rained down on the Celtic players and management following the defeat to Rangers last week and the subsequent home loss to AC Milan.

That Brown was hooked during the second half of the Milan match has been taken as some as an indication of his own poor performance on the night, but Brown stands ready to face down his critics, and has vowed that both he and his teammates will emerge stronger from the experience.

"I'll take all the flak you want,” Brown said.

"I don't really look on social media too much, I just keep doing what I do.

"After a result like that there are always going to be people who say. 'Oh he should retire, he's not good enough to be playing here'.

"Others will think, 'They've not made the right signings' but we have to stick together.

"We have to be strong. We need to make sure everything that happens stays in the dressing room. We need to stay nice and neat and tidy together.

"It's part and parcel of being a footballer, especially when you are at Celtic. You just need to be strong and have that character to come back every season as best as you can.

"You need to keep pushing the boundaries and be as fit as you can.”

Brown admits that influencing the squad has been a little more difficult this season given the restrictions in place at Celtic’s training ground.

"I am always chatting to the boys, although it's harder just now as we aren't all in the same dressing-room at Lennoxtown,” he said.

"But you get to talk to them when we are on the training pitch and when we are walking back in.

"We just need to keep our spirits and bounce back as quick as we possibly can.

"That's the good thing at Celtic. We have a game every three days so there is always a chance to do that.”

Those games don’t get any easier though. After a tricky trip to Pittodrie to face Aberdeen today, Celtic are on the road again on Europa League duty as they head to France to face Lille, who went into this weekend on top of Ligue One.

"Europe is important for the club and we still need to believe we can qualify from the group,” Brown said.

"This game in Lille is going to be huge for us and it won't be easy, but we have a good away record in recent seasons.

"Lille are top of the French league just now and that shows this wasn't the easiest group draw we could have got.

"What is good for the club is that we want to be playing against the top teams and making it as competitive as we can.

"We want to go through in this group and we believe we can.”

What may be key to achieving that goal is the depth of the Celtic squad, and with some of those players on the fringe starting to near full fitness, Brown believes the likes of Leigh Griffiths and Tom Rogic can play a huge part in their Europa League campaign.

"It's been hard for the likes of Tom Rogic and Griff as they were injured and then we were winning games,” he said.

"The players in the team were doing well but we have a lot of fixtures coming up so we will need everyone available.

"The likes of Tom coming back is a huge boost for us because everyone knows he is a genius on the ball.

"Hopefully we can get him as fit as we possibly can because his absence has been overlooked a bit.

"Anyone who has watched Tom over the years will know that is a top player.

"He rarely gives the ball away, he takes it under pressure in any situation and he makes things happen.

"Tom creates a lot of chances for us and has scored some really big goals for this club in the last seven years.

"He's also a great lad about the club and we have missed him but people maybe overlook that as he's had a few injuries.

"Tom is one of the best players in Scotland and is one of the best I have ever played with.

"He produces big moments in big matches and we want him to be here for the remaining two and a half years on his contract.

"It's great for us that he is still here and we just need to get him up to speed.”