For­mer cap­tain backs SFA over play-off

Evening Times - - SPORT - Matthew Lindsay

SCOTT Brown is hop­ing the SPFL com­ply with the SFA’s re­quest not to play any Lad­brokes Pre­mier­ship games on the Sun­day be­fore the Euro 2020 play-offs next year.

Steve Clarke, the na­tional team man­ager, this week urged the coun­try’s gov­ern­ing bod­ies to “do all they can” to help his side reach the finals.

And for­mer cap­tain Brown wel­comed the news that the SFA have writ­ten to the SPFL ask­ing them to move all of their top-flight games to the Satur­day be­fore the semi-fi­nal on Thurs­day, March 26. That will give the likes of Ryan Christie, James For­rest, Ryan Jack, Cal­lum Mc­Gre­gor, Scott McKenna and Steven Nai­smith five days to pre­pare for the Ham­p­den match against ei­ther Bul­garia, Hun­gary, Is­rael or Ro­ma­nia in­stead of four.

“I’m sure the SFA and clubs will help him as much as they can,” said Celtic mid­fielder Brown ahead of the play-off draw in Nyon this af­ter­noon.

“We need to play our strong­est 11, so it all comes down to the SFA now. It’s a huge oc­ca­sion and we must make sure we give Scot­land as much help as we can, to give the play­ers time to rest. It has been a long time since we’ve been to Eu­ros or a World Cup and we need to put the clubs on the back­burner for four or five days to make sure we give Steve the best op­tions pos­si­ble.”

Hopes the SPFL could post­pone Pre­mier­ship fix­tures al­to­gether the week­end be­fore the play-off semi­fi­nals and fi­nal – which will be played on March 26, and Tues­day, March 31 – and al­low Clarke to take his play­ers on a mini train­ing camp are likely to be dashed due to a con­gested fix­ture list as well as the de­mands of tele­vi­sion broad­cast­ers.

Scott Brown shares a joke with Leigh Grif­fiths and Jonny Hayes dur­ing a train­ing ses­sion

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