Celtic assistant makes Brown plea

Celtic assistant makes Brown plea

Celtic assistant manager Mark Venus has urged Scotland not to pick Scott Brown for next month’s friendly in Japan if he is not 100% fit.

Midfielder Brown has been hindered by an ankle injury recently and is expected to visit a specialist to determine the extent of the problem.

Celtic are also likely to rest the 24-year-old against Falkirk in the Co-operative Insurance Cup this evening.

Venus wants Scotland boss George Burley – who last week was told his job is safe – to adopt a similar policy when it comes to less important games.

However, last weekend saw Scottish Football Association president George Peat put pressure on players to prove their loyalty to Burley by not pulling out of friendly matches.

Venus said of Brown: “We know he’s got a weakness in his ankle, an irritation in his ankle, which time and a bit of rest might help. So I think the kid needs a rest. But on one hand you rest him, and on the other hand there’s talk about him going away with Scotland. Where is the dividing line? When can you rest him?

“There is a chance he could be asked to go to Japan. How do you get round that? I want to put on the record that our football club is right behind the Scotland manager. Whenever he needs this club for the right games, hopefully we will want to help out.

“You’ve got to manage your players as a nation, not just as a club. Are friendly games just to let other players have a go, to see if they can perform for their national team? Or are they to keep taking the same players with niggles and injuries?

“If he’s totally fit, 100% fit, he can go. But if he’s got a niggle and you play him with an injection, and you want to do that, the bottom line is I’d just bring him back if he’s injured.

“There has to be a bit of an understanding between both parties. Are we against Scotland? No, we want Scotland to win. I hope none of the players with niggles have to travel. It’s time to get the players rested and look after them.

“Friendlies are a chance, like B squad games, to play other people. You might get a surprise or two from players who haven’t been selected before but could come to the fore for their country.”

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