Scott Brown welcomed the inclusion of Celtic team-mate and “rising star” Kieran Tierney into the Scotland squad for the first time.
The 18-year-old, who has ousted Honduras international Emilio Izaguirre from the left-back position at Parkhead this season, is one of nine uncapped players national team boss Gordon Strachan has selected in two squads for upcoming friendlies against Czech Republic and Denmark.
Scotland and Hoops captain Brown was speaking before he took part, along with team-mate Ryan Christie, at Ladbrokes’ new ‘Football Star In A Rally Car’ event at Knockhill Racing Circuit.
Describing the news of Tierney’s selection as “excellent”, he added: “He is a rising star, that’s for sure. It is great to have him in the squad.
“The way he has been playing has been exceptional and hopefully he can get a little chance against Denmark to show the manager what he can do.
“He works so hard in training every day, he has a great attitude and he has been exceptional for the last three or four months.
“He is still a young kid but he is thriving. He is composed on the ball, good at one-on-one defending, and is also a great attacking outlet.
“So he has pretty much got everything you could ask for.
“Nothing fazes the wee man, he will thrive playing with international players and just to put that Scotland jersey on, he will love it.”
The two friendly matches in Prague and at Hampden Park are the beginning on Scotland’s preparations for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers which begin later in the year.
Returning his thoughts to domestic matters, Brown admitted the prospect of playing Rangers can fire Celtic up for the run-in.
While the champions still lead Aberdeen at the top of the table by one point, attentions will turn to Hampden in mid-April following the pairing of the Glasgow giants in last Sunday’s William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final draw.
With so many crucial games to come before then, starting with the trip to Partick Thistle on Saturday, Brown was reluctant to look too far ahead.
However, asked if the upcoming Old Firm game could help Celtic kick on, the 30-year-old said: “Yes, there are places up for grabs in those games and it is the big games you want to play in.
“So I think everyone will be on their A game from now on.”
Celtic beat Rangers 2-0 with some ease when they met in the League Cup semi-final at Hampden last season but Brown “definitely” expects a more difficult challenge this time.
The former Hibernian player said: “They are a good team, they play some good football but as I say, they have a lot of games, we have a lot of games.
“They are doing well in the Championship just now and we are still winning the Premiership so hopefully we can kick on a little bit now.”
Brown remains confident that Celtic will stay the course, despite the challenge of the Dons, to win five titles in a row.
“We are top of the league, we have a game in hand and we need to get that five in a row,” he said.
“We need to keep winning. We are Celtic and should be winning the league no matter what.
“From now on there should be no excuses from us whatsoever, we need to keep winning games and keep getting points on the board.
“It doesn’t need to be pretty football, it can be ugly football but three points is three points and hopefully we can get that five in a row.”
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