STEVEN Pressley has attributed Scott Brown’s disappointing form this season to playing matches behind closed doors - and argued that not having any fans inside Parkhead due to the Covid-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the entire Celtic side.

Pressley played alongside Brown during the two seasons that he spent in the East End of Glasgow towards the end of his career and was always impressed with how the combative midfielder flourished in hostile arenas.

He believes that Brown, who turned 35 in the summer, has struggled at times due to the lack of atmosphere inside grounds and also reckons Neil Lennon’s men have not been at their best because of the absence of crowds.

“As a manager you hope that the board have a broad view of what you are dealing with,” said. “Sometimes in football people only think about the here and now, and not what a manager has had to deal with. He has lost players to Covid and injuries and had matches cancelled.

“But a significant factor that has affected Celtic is the lack of support in the grounds. The statistics show that there have been more away victories this season than ever before.

“Celtic have also conceded seven penalty kicks this season. Last season they only conceded three. You could argue that is because of the influence of the support.”

Pressley continued: “Scott Brown is coming towards the end of his playing career. But in recent years a lot of his game has been about affecting the crowd, getting a reaction, having that type of influence on the game. That isn’t there at this moment in time.

“I think he has been affected as well by that. He can’t play to the crowd. He misses having an audience. He needs the theatre of a match. Some players come alive in front of a crowd, some players crumble. He comes alive. I think Celtic as a whole have been badly affected by that.

“Even Pep Guardiola has spoken about the fact that it isn’t real football at this moment in time. What sets apart many players is the ability to handle the pressure.”