Brown makes in­ter­na­tional U-turn ahead of Wembley

Celtic cap­tain just can’t get enough as he re­verses de­ci­sion to re­tire

The Herald - Herald Sport - - FRONT PAGE - SCOTT MULLEN

SCOTT BROWN’S dra­matic U-turn to come out of in­ter­na­tional re­tire­ment af­ter just two months has been de­scribed as a “no-brainer” by Mark McGhee, as the Scot­land as­sis­tant man­ager in­sisted his re­turn is just the boost the squad needs ahead of their World Cup qual­i­fier with Eng­land.

It emerged yes­ter­day that Gor­don Stra­chan, the na­tional team man­ager, and the Celtic cap­tain had spo­ken about the 31-year-old re­turn­ing to the fold with him now ex­pected to be un­veiled next week for the game at Wembley on Novem­ber 11.

Scot­land have played three matches with­out Brown in Group F, reg­is­ter­ing a win in Malta to soften the blow of scrap­ing a draw at home to Lithua­nia be­fore be­ing turned over in a 3-0 de­feat away to Slo­vakia.

It is un­der­stood that it was the player him­self who ini­ti­ated talks of be­ing avail­able for se­lec­tion go­ing for­ward, a de­ci­sion that was made per­haps in the knowl­edge that his resur­gence at club form un­der Bren­dan Rodgers has raised his game and fit­ness to a level where he feels able once more to cope with jug­gling both com­mit­ments.

“I think it is [a no-brainer]. There are no neg­a­tives to it,” said McGhee of the man with 50 caps to his name. “I was asked about him say­ing no then want­ing to come back. The lad is en­ti­tled to his life and his own feel­ings and the pres­sures some­one like him has.

“I think it is sig­nif­i­cant, Bren­dan’s ar­rivals, Broonie see­ing it and think­ing, ‘this could be re­ally ex­cit­ing at Celtic’ and want to be part of that and want to give him­self as good a chance as he could to be part of that. I think now what he has re­alised is, ‘I can do this. I can be part of it. I can be part of some­thing ex­cit­ing at Celtic Park and do this.’ If that’s the case fine, I wel­come him back with open arms.”

The Mother­well man­ager and Scot­land No 2 was open about what this would also do for the mood of the camp go­ing into a piv­otal game for the na­tional side against Gareth South­gate’s Eng­land. Scot­land’s poor form in the last in­ter­na­tional break left many dread­ing the trip to Lon­don in two weeks’ time, but McGhee is con­tent that Brown’s re­turn could be the shot in the arm the na­tion needs.

“I think it does. Cer­tainly, I feel we are stronger with him,” he said. “And there­fore more pos­i­tive about go­ing to Wembley.

“Him back in the camp, with his voice, is a char­ac­ter and he is an in­flu­ence from day one when we meet up. That can only be good. Scott has played against most of the Eng­land mid­field many times. Ei­ther with Scot­land or in Euro­pean games. They will know him and I’m sure they would pre­fer him not to play.

“But it’s how he af­fects other peo­ple around him as well. He makes other peo­ple bet­ter play­ers.

“The day he an­nounced it I al­most thought of go­ing and try­ing to talk him out of it him­self. I didn’t re­ally think that was my role. But there are no neg­a­tives. The other play­ers will be de­lighted. He is pop­u­lar within the camp.”

McGhee was joined in prais­ing the de­vel­op­ment by Neil Len­non, the Hibs man­ager who man­aged Brown dur­ing his time at Celtic.

He added: “That is a huge boost for Scot­land. I would think that hav­ing Broonie back in the Scot­land squad and play­ing the way he is would be huge fil­lip for the squad, for the fans and for Gor­don as well.

“He prob­a­bly looked at last sea­son when he was pick­ing up in­juries and play­ing with in­juries, it was tak­ing its toll on him but he looks re­ally fresh this sea­son and is play­ing very, very well - far more like the Scott we know.

“He played bril­liantly for me for a num­ber of sea­sons and it looks like he’s back to play­ing that way again. I think the ma­jor­ity of the play­ers will know him and will prob­a­bly wel­come him back with open arms be­cause he’s play­ing with a pres­ence and a drive and I think that’s prob­a­bly been miss­ing a lit­tle bit from the Scot­land team.”

CAN’T STAY AWAY: Scott Brown has re­versed in­ter­na­tional re­tire­ment de­ci­sion

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