Celtic skipper Scott Brown is refusing to rule out a sensational Scotland comeback for the THIRD time in his career.

The Hoops star is open to the prospect of a dark blues return if Steve Clarke guides the squad to the Euros next summer.

Brown, 34, made his startling admission as the Scots prepare today to discover their semi-final play-off opponent for a Hampden showdown in March.

If they win, they will play Norway or Serbia in the final and open up a route to participation in their first major tournament since France '98.

Brown first retired from international football in August 2016, only to overturn his decision two months later.

Scott Brown in Scotland action
Scott Brown in Scotland action

He stepped down again in February 2018 after a heart-to-heart with new boss Alex McLeish to focus on prolonging his career at Parkhead.

Now Brown is contemplating one more swansong that would fill the one notable gap in his impressive career CV and allow him to play in a top level international tournament.

Asked about a Scotland comeback, he said “Football’s a funny game and you never know.

“I’m in a good place fitness-wise and in terms of my body and I make sure I keep myself ticking over.

 

“The international breaks have been incredible for me – they’ve allowed me to go away and relax, play golf and recharge my batteries.

“That’s been good for me and I retired from international football to prolong my career and I don’t want to be that guy who keeps quitting and then thinking he can come back.

“I’m going to be 35 soon and we’re very strong in the middle of the park - there’s a lot of young lads in that area.

“It’s been hard for me to watch the games because you always want to be playing in them but, at the end of the day, I need to look after number one.

“My wish is that I could still be playing for Celtic and Scotland at the age of 45 but there comes a time when you have to make sure your body’s okay and give yourself the best chance of continuing to play for your club.”

Pressed further and asked if he’d make a comeback in the summer at the request of Clarke, he added: “They still have two games to get through but....you never say never.

“It would be phenomenal to get to a finals after 22 years. I remember watching the games at France '98 as a 13-year-old and my mum put Scotland flags all around the windows and outside in the street.

“It was great and it shows you the whole country wants us to get back there again. The Tartan Army are great supporters, whether it’s at home or abroad and it would be good for them as well.

“It’s a regret of mine that we never managed to get there. We came close against Norway in 2009 but we didn’t get there. If big Chris Iwelumo had just stuck that chance away it would’ve made me a happy man, but it wasn’t to be.

“We’ve had other chances but didn’t get there but I’ve done some fantastic things with Celtic, such as getting to the last 16 of the Champions League a few times and playing in the Europa League after Christmas.”

Brown has also called on the SPFL to do all they can to help Scotland qualify for the Euros by postponing Premiership matches at the end of March to boost the cause.

The SPFL say they hands are tied by a crowded domestic calender and if the Old Firm are still involved in the Europa League in the spring it will only add still further to the difficulties.

Brown said: “I’m sure the SPFL and clubs will help Steve as much as possible. We need to play our strongest 11, so it all comes down to the SPFL now.

“It’s a huge occasions and we must make sure we give Scotland as much help as we can, whether it’s six days beforehand 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 those days to make sure we give Steve the best options possible.”

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