Scotland captain Scott Brown has announced his international retirement with immediate effect.
The Celtic midfielder came to the decision after an injury-plagued 2015/16 where his performances suffered for both club and country.
Brown missed almost three months with a knee injury before being troubled with hamstring complaints as the campaign came to a close.
He’s recently found form again under new Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers, but believes it would be too much to try and maintain high standards playing for both club and country at the age of 31.
A statement on the SFA website, which quoted Brown, read: “It’s no secret that I’ve suffered some injuries in my career and once you get over 30 you have to protect your body more, in any case.
“I’m not the type of player who can coast half-heartedly through a game – I give 100 per cent every time. Given the importance of this campaign for Scotland, and the challenges ahead at Celtic, I simply felt that I could not keep up both commitments without either my performances or recovery time suffering.”
Brown has represented Scotland 50 times. He was first capped as a Hibs player by Walter Smith and would later be made skipper of the squad by Gordon Strachan. Before making the announcement, Brown spoke to Strachan, the man who also signed him for Celtic back in 2007.
“I would like to thank Gordon for giving me the honour of not only playing for my country but captaining Scotland in the last campaign.
“Gordon has been one of the most influential people in my career and I did not want to let him or my country down.
“Gordon understands this [decision] completely and I would hope the Scotland supporters understand my position, too. The personal disappointment of not reaching a major championship finals with my country was heightened this summer but we have a great squad of players and I am certain that we can really make a go of this campaign and qualify for Russia.”
Strachan added: “Scott is one of the most wholehearted players I’ve encountered and somebody who puts the team ahead of himself. He is not the type to play within himself, either, and I understand and respect the decision he has taken.
“I have huge admiration for a player as selfless as he has been: to sacrifice family time and recovery time to help his country.
“We will miss Scott as a player, no doubt about it, but football evolves and it provides an opportunity for others to step-up take that responsibility. We’ll miss him as a person, too, because his influence and popularity around the squad was integral to all that we did as a group.”