CELTIC captain Scott Brown could play the rest of the season without the need for surgery on his persistent hip injury, according to his manager.
Parkhead boss Neil Lennon is hopeful that the Scotland international can carry on playing through the pain barrier as long as the right balance is struck in training and match action.
The midfielder helped Celtic reach the knockout phase of the Champions League and was a star performer in last weekend’s 3-1 win at Kilmarnock.
Lennon revealed that Brown is making progress and a hip operation would be a last resort.
Lennon said: “Scott could possibly go through the whole season. That is what he wants.
“There may be games coming up when we have to balance the amount he plays and his training – but when he plays like he did against Kilmarnock he is great to watch.
“He was in a lot of discomfort for quite a while. He was struggling to finish games.
“We thought it would deteriorate rather than improve.
“We are not saying he is over the worst but he has had this condition since August and at times he has played fantastically well. He has moved a lot more freely since his last injection.
“Surgery is the last resort and it is not 100 per cent guaranteed to remedy the problem.
“If we can avoid it, great and we will shut him down at the end of the season.”