CELTIC captain Scott Brown says he is sad to be bowing out of the Old Firm fixture on such a low after a heavy defeat to Rangers, but admits that it is the right time for him to move on.

Brown played for an hour as the champions ruined Brown’s Old Firm swansong by running out as emphatic 4-1 winners, with Callum McGregor being ordered off for the visitors early on.

It was a situation that Brown and his Celtic teammates couldn’t retrieve as they rounded off a desperately disappointing campaign by failing to beat Rangers for the sixth game in succession, but Brown has backed the club to bounce back without him next season.

“I’m sad to be going but it’s the right time for me,” Brown said.

“It’s a huge fixture, Rangers versus Celtic, and to be fair I’ve enjoyed them. I’ve had some great memories in them as well and some disappointing ones.

“From now on it’s about me going to Aberdeen next season and hopefully coming back and challenging as well. I’ve got two games left at Celtic and I need to make the most of them.

“It’s going to be a big change around [at Celtic]. There’s going to be a new manager in place, whatever happens will happen.

“Whoever the manager is will want to put his own philosophy on it, his own style of play, and he will obviously want to bring his own players as well.

“For me, it’s the right time for myself to go, it’s a new challenge for me and a new chapter but this club will be back, it’s a fantastic club.

“Over the years we’ve had one really bad season over the last 10 so I’m sure they will be back I have belief and faith in the players.

“It’s not about me it’s about the team ultimately and it has been throughout the last 14 years of my career at Celtic. There have been ups and downs but this is definitely a low blow for us.

“We’ve come here and had some fantastic games and today we didn’t deserve 4-1, but it’s hard when you go down to 10 men as well. The lads fought, the effort was there, it was just always going to be a hard performance with ten men for 65 minutes.”

Brown agreed with interim manager John Kennedy’s assessment of referee Nick Walsh’s performance, criticising the official for his handling of his Old Firm debut, and his decision to send off teammate McGregor.

“Going back, Callum’s first yellow is not a yellow,” Brown said. “I think it was the first game for the referee and he struggled to be perfectly honest.

“It was always going to be hard with 10 men. We kept fighting, we created chances, we were bit unlucky we didn’t’ score at the start of the second half and then they went up the park and scored a goal. It was about us taking the chances.

“It’s been a hard season and it was a hard game as well but Celtic will be back next season. It’s a hard game for the fans but we are as disappointed as much as they are.

“We are sorry for letting them down over the whole season because this was supposed to be our showcase season and it wasn’t to be.”