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REVEALED: WHY CELTIC HERO QUIT SCOTLAND

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SCOTT BROWN admits he would love to be involved with Scotland as they prepare for the Euro Finals next month.

However, the departing Celtic skipper acknowledged the need to step down from the international arena to prolong his career at club level.

Brown is on the outside looking in as Steve Clarke prepares his squad for the opening encounter against the Czech Republic at Hampden on June 14, the trip to Wembley to face England four days later and the match against Croatia, again in Glasgow, on the 22nd.

Asked if he has any regrets about missing out on his country’s first major tournament since Craig Brown led the Scots to the World Cup Finals in France in 1998, the veteran midfielder said: “Looking back, I’d have loved to have still been there, but I’ll be 36 by the time the Euros come around.

IN THE DARK BLUE CORNER…Scott Brown in action for Scotland in 2014.

“The lads have done fantastically to get there, they’ve done extremely well.

“I don’t think I would still be at Celtic if I was playing for Scotland, as well. I reckon that would have taken a big impact on my career and my body, too, and I think I moved away at the right time.

“I spoke to Gordon Strachan and Brendan Rodgers and how it was about being selfish now at the end of my career and look after myself and about playing as many games as I possibly can for Celtic.

“Looking at it now, of course, I would love to be going to the Euros.

“I played 10 to 11 years for Scotland and I didn’t get to the Euros or a World Cup, so that’s a little bit sad that it’s not been ticked off on the CV.

“But to be perfectly honest I’ve had so many great years here and I probably wouldn’t still be here playing now if I was 35 coming on 36 and if I was still playing for Scotland now.”

SHAKE ON IT…Scott Brown and England skipper Harry Kane before the World Cup qualifying 2-2 draw at Hampden in 2017.

Brown, who was capped 55 times, has one more game to play before he says farewell to Celtic after 14 trophy-laden years.

The 35-year-old onfield leader, who has won 22 honours since his £4.4million arrival from Hibs, will, ironically, pull down the final curtain on his Hoops playing career at Easter Road tomorrow.

Brown made his last appearance at Parkhead in the green and white hoops on Wednesday evening as the team thrashed Scottish Cup Finalists St Johnstone 4-0.

It was an emotional night in the east end of Glasgow, but the midfielder must now look to his playing/coaching career at Aberdeen where he agreed a two-year pre-contract deal last month.

Brown, who made 610 appearances and scored 46 goals, looked back at his days at Celtic since Gordon Strachan paid a record fee between two Scottish clubs of £4.4million for the powerhouse in 2007.

POINTING THE WAY…Scott Brown shouts advice.

He reflected on the midweek goodbye without supporters packing the place to give him a fitting send-off and, speaking to Sky Sports, said: “It’s sad, I’ve had 14 fantastic years here. I’ve enjoyed every single moment of it, I’ve made so many friends. I’ve seen so many players come and so many players leave the club.

“I’ve had so many trophies, so many great occasions and it’s just coming to the end of it, I’ve got one game left. When I signed it was my last game for Hibs as well to play against Celtic and now it’s vice versa.

“It’s a special occasion because Hibs means so much to myself, as does Celtic, so it’s going to be one of those occasions I relish and will always remember, that’s for sure.”

Brown was eyed elsewhere before making the swtich to Glasgow and he added: “I had an offer from Spurs, from Harry Redknapp, but it was too soon for myself. I think I wanted to come to Celtic, I wanted to enjoy it.

IN THE GREEN CORNER…Scott Brown on the ball for Celtic.

“I was starting to really enjoy my football at the club and they put a lot of faith into me, especially during hard times, as well, and they stuck by me, so it was great to give a little bit back and Lenny was the manager at the time.

“I had an opportunity to go to Newcastle and I was out of contract, but Lenny was like: ‘I want to keep you as captain, I want to build the team around you, I think we can push on and keep this winning mentality going’.

“We were doing quite well at the time and it was one of those things. I was thinking: ‘Do I want to talk and stay at Celtic, do I want to go down to England and have a fresh start, or do I want to keep winning and show everyone that I am a good player, that I can keep winning and deal with this?’.

“That was the little bit of fight inside me that I wanted to prove everybody wrong and it’s stuck by me for the last 10-11 years.

“There have been a lot of people writing me off and I want to show people that I’ve still got another few years and I’ll continue like that until I retire.”

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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