World Cup Qualifier Re-energised Scott Brown back in Scotland squad

The 31-year-old Celtic skipper announced he was quitting international duty three months ago

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Celtic's midfielder Scott Brown (L) announced he was quitting international duty three months ago so he could prolong his career with his club play

Celtic's midfielder Scott Brown (L) announced he was quitting international duty three months ago so he could prolong his career with his club

(AFP/File)
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Scott Brown, who "retired" from international football in the summer, deserves his recall to the Scotland squad for the World Cup qualifier against fierce rivals England, manager Gordon Strachan said Wednesday.

The 31-year-old Celtic skipper, capped 50 times for Scotland since his debut in 2005, announced he was quitting international duty three months ago so he could prolong his career with his club.

But the feisty midfielder had a change of heart last month and Strachan -- who badly needs a win after a modest start in what is a weak Group F -- was only too happy to have him back for the November 11 Wembley showdown.

"Scott retired in August when he was in a different place to where he is now," Strachan said.

"At that time it was beneficial for him and Celtic that he retired from international football.

"We respected that but Scott is in a different place now and feels he can help us in our quest to get to a major finals."

Strachan also called up 22-year-old Swansea left-back Stephen Kingsley with Andrew Robertson and Kieran Tierney both injured.

"We're happy to have Stephen Kingsley in the squad," said Strachan, who is under growing pressure.

"He is a player who features in the English Premiership regularly for Swansea and if you do that, you're not a bad player."

Strachan, in charge since 2013, dismissed as irrelevant the dispute over his players having to play in pink and not their traditional blue.

FIFA -- who are already in the bad books of the English and Scottish Football Associations over forbidding the players to wear a poppy on their shirts for Armistice Day which falls on the day of the friendly -- say the white sleeves would clash with England's white shirts.

"It's not up to me that. I've played against England in a blue strip before and got beat," said Strachan.

"It's not what you put on. It's what's inside that strip which counts.

"It's not how you talk before the game, it's what you do on the pitch that counts.

"So the strip, the propaganda, it means nothing. It's what you get on the pitch, are you a team?

"Are you a good player? Do you want to take this challenge on?" added the 59-year-old former Manchester United and Scotland midfielder.

Scotland are fourth in Group F with four points from three matches, three points adrift of group leaders England.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Craig Gordon (Celtic), Jack Hamilton (Hearts), David Marshall (Hull City/ENG)

Defenders: Christophe Berra (Ipswich Town/ENG), Gordon Greer (Blackburn Rovers/ENG), Grant Hanley (Newcastle United/ENG), Stephen Kingsley (Swansea City/WAL), Russell Martin (Norwich City/ENG), Callum Paterson (Hearts), Lee Wallace (Rangers)

Midfielders: Ikechi Anya (Derby County/ENG), Barry Bannan (Sheffield Wednesday/ENG), Scott Brown (Celtic), Oliver Burke (RB Leipzig/GER), Darren Fletcher (West Bromwich Albion/ENG), James Forrest (Celtic), James McArthur (Crystal Palace/ENG), John McGinn (Hibernian), James Morrison (West Bromwich Albion/ENG), Matt Ritchie (Newcastle United/ENG), Robert Snodgrass (Hull City/ENG).

Forwards: Steven Fletcher (Sheffield Wednesday/ENG), Leigh Griffiths (Celtic), Chris Martin (Derby County/ENG), Steven Naismith (Norwich City/ENG)

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