DAILY RECORD 🔵 Scott Brown rolls eyes at the Celtic question he saw coming – Shango Media

DAILY RECORD 🔵 Scott Brown rolls eyes at the Celtic question he saw coming

DAILY RECORD 🔵 Scott Brown rolls eyes at the Celtic question he saw coming

There’s a comedic roll of Scott Brown’s eyes and a gentle shrug of the shoulders. This is hardly his first rodeo after all.

“I was waiting for that question, I knew it was coming!” Brown smiles when asked to address a subject very close to his own heart. Has the time now come for Callum McGrgeor – his close friend and successor as Celtic’s captain – to follow his lead by considering stepping down from the international scene? Brown felt obliged to make that very decision during his own time wearing the armband at Parkhead. And, even though his body left him with very little choice – in his heart and mind he instantly regretted it.

So much so, of course, that a couple of months after calling it quits he was tempted back into the fold for one last hurrah under Gordon Strachan – and the lure of a World Cup qualifier against England at Wembley. They may have lost that showdown under the arch but, with Brown back on board, Strachan’s Scotland came agonisingly close to making it all the way to Russia 2018, going a full calendar year without another defeat in the group before suffering a near miss at the death.

McGregor’s Euro 2024 campaign came to a shattering end against Hungary in Stuttgart last month. Having turned 31 on the day the tournament began against Germany in Munich, McGregor has much to consider as he looks to make the most of his veteran years at club level.

But, unlike Brown who was battling against a string of injuries when he made the toughest call of his career, McGregor shows little if of slowing down. If any at all. Which is why Brown, who went on to win a total of 55 caps before stepping down for a second and final time, suspects his apprentice may have enough miles left in the tank to be eyeing up a place at the next big global event in Canada, Mexico and the United States.

“It’s hard,” Brown says with a touch of a grimace. “Callum is a totally different player to what I was and a different personality as well. I knew that my body was probably not going to make 50-60 games for the next couple of seasons.

“I kept having to pull out of games and training and stuff. I think Callum is probably in a bit of a different situation. He has had a wee niggle with his Achilles obviously but he has managed to fight through that and the rest will do him good as well, because he has played a lot of football.

“He is one that will keep burning, keep going and keep driving through and he sets the standards throughout the whole dressing room and the whole stadium to be fair, he is the driving force behind that whole club, along with Brendan Rodgers. He’ll only have a couple of weeks off after the Euros so that’s not a lot of rest.

“Brendan will always look after him. That is part and parcel of being a good manager. He knows when Callum is tired and he knows when he needs an extra day off. But Callum is one of these lads who wants to train all the time. Even when he is given time off, he will be in the house running.

“He is not getting time off. He is continually driving and setting new standards and wanting to make sure he is the fittest player to come back for pre-season. Hopefully when he comes back and he is flying in training and flying in games it just takes him through another season.”

And, having himself failed to resist the lure of one last crack at wearing a dark blue shirt on the greatest stage of all, Brown knows the same prospect is likely to prove impossible for McGregor to turn down. He went on: “You always want to play for your country. You always want to get to a Euros or a World Cup.

“I just felt that every time I went away with Scotland I came back and I was slack for the next two or three games because all the other lads got a break, got a rest and got some recovery and I was turning out and turning out. Eventually four or five games down the line I started coming back again and got a few wee extra breaks. But it was hard to take. It is part and parcel of the game – there are going to be more and matches.

“You have to make sure you have got a good squad as well. I am sure Steve Clarke might not want to use him all the time. But maybe he will. And it’s the same with Brendan – he will want him to be there as the driving force. It is a hard one for Callum but at the same time you want the best players on the pitch, and Call’s the best player.”

Which is why Brown – now Ayr United manager – suspects McGregor will sign up for two more years of national service. At least. He said: “You regret it when you step down and that’s probably why I went back.

“You were watching the games in the house thinking, ‘Ach, I should really be there. I can still play. It might kill me later on but I can end up helping out in this campaign!’. When I had the opportunity to go back and went down to England and jumped in with two feet. I enjoyed being part of the Scotland team and squad and meeting up with the lads. “Some people did not enjoy that. I enjoy being around people. I am a people person.

“For me it was huge to go along. It was obviously sad when I retired for a second time and then when I retired from playing as well, you end up thinking. ‘Where am I going to go, what am I going to do?’. You sit around the house going, ‘For f*** sake Scott, I have two months until the end of the season, maybe I should have just stayed at Aberdeen!’.

“I ended up being a chauffeur for the kids. Then I got the opportunity to go into management with Fleetwood and jumped in with two feet there as well. Then you start enjoying it as well. It is the next best thing to playing football.”

McGregor, though, may not be ready to start settling for second best just yet.

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