Brown signed for the Hoops in the summer of 2007 as a fresh-faced 22-year-old, and has gone on to become one of the club’s most iconic captains after winning last season’s ‘Invincible’ treble.
But it turns out Brown could’ve been a Celtic player from even younger, with O’Neill confirming the 32-year-old veteran was most definitely on his radar.
O’Neill, who was Celtic boss between 2000 and 2005, will bring his Republic of Ireland side to Glasgow to provide opposition for Brown’s testimonial match in May, and speaking in an interview with the Herald, he confirmed: “I absolutely remember Scott Brown when he was a young lad coming through at Hibs.
“Both he and Kevin Thomson were the shining lights of what was a very good young Hibs team at the time.
“Not long after I left, Gordon Strachan signed Scott but he was a player who was most definitely on our radar.
“He did really well for Hibs and what I seem to recall is that he wasn’t afraid to get in about it when we played them.
“He wasn’t intimidated by some of the reputations that would have been in our team.
“We had a squad of experienced international players who had been there and done it but the likes of Scott had no qualms about getting right into it. I would absolutely remember that much.
“I would certainly not take the credit for getting him to Celtic – that belongs to Gordon and those at the club who facilitated that – but he was most certainly a player that we were interested in and aware of his potential.
“There was talk of Rangers too being interested in both players and we knew that he was a player who had the raw potential to go on and have a very good career, which I think we can say he has.
“In this day and age it is a phenomenal time to have served at the football club and I am sure there will be many who will look to show their appreciation when the time comes around.”
During the O’Neill era, Celtic enjoyed a midfield that included genuine top-class players, including the likes of Paul Lambert, Stan Petrov and Neil Lennon – but could Brown have held his own among that lot?
What do you think?