JOHN KENNEDY has challenged his Celtic players to rise to the occasion tonight and give captain Scott Brown a fitting send off in his last home match for the club.

Brown will lead the team out for the last time at Celtic Park as they take on St Johnstone tonight, with tributes being left to the skipper outside the stadium by supporters in recognition of his contribution to Celtic over the past 14 years.

Kennedy says it is a shame that the fans will not be inside the ground to give him the ovation he deserves, so it is up to the Celtic players to put on a performance that will make for a fitting farewell.

“It’s about finishing as strongly as we can over the final two games," Kennedy said. “Scott’s deserving of that – and that will be motivation for the team.

“It will be a poignant moment for him and I think it’ll probably start to hit home for him now, in terms of these being his final couple of games for the club.

"It’s been a huge part of his life and he’s been a huge part of Celtic, and the most disappointing thing is that our supporters don’t have the chance to give him the send-off he deserves due to the situation we find ourselves in.

“Hopefully, though, the players can rise to the occasion and put in the kind of performance which will see him off on a high.

"When you think of what he’s given the club and the success he’s brought to it, he’s been absolutely terrific and we need to respect that.

"It’s just disappointing it’s ending in the way it is.”

Kennedy has meanwhile paid tribute to the man in the opposing dugout this evening, revealing that St Johnstone boss Callum Davidson was in his top two votes for manager of the year.

“I think Callum’s been terrific," he said. "I know him well and he’s a very humble guy but the way he has his team playing, the stability he’s brought to the club and the way he’d won their first League Cup and also has them in the Scottish Cup terms of the resources he has, to come out of the other end of that the way he has is absolutely first class.

“He’s very down to earth. For me, he’s done a perfect job there and he deserves all the plaudits he gets. It’s right that he’s in the running for the award because he’s been amazing. When I handed in my votes, he was in my top two.

"Teams can sometimes reach a cup final without having a great season but looking at their consistency throughout the campaign, as well as winning one piece of silverware and possibly two, he’s a worthy candidate.”