Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has admitted being surprised by Scott Brown’s desire to return to Scotland action, describing the midfielder’s decision to make himself available again as “typical” of the type of man he is.
Brown was jeered by Aberdeen fans yesterday in his side’s 1-0 win at Pittodrie. The result, secured by Tom Rogic’s 23rd minute half-volley, left leaders Celtic ten points in front of Aberdeen, who have a played a game more. They are nine points ahead of second-placed Rangers, who beat Kilmarnock 3-0.
This comfortable situation has helped inform Brown’s overturning of his recent decision to retire from international football – for next month’s vital World Cup qualifier against England at Wembley at least.
Rodgers said that as far as he was aware the change of heart is on a one-match basis.
“I think it’s just for this game,” noted Rodgers. “He has made himself available if Gordon [Strachan] needs him. Gordon is someone that brought him to the club, someone he has huge admiration for. The type of man that Scott is, he wouldn’t like to see people that he is loyal to stuck, and I totally respect that. So it helps Gordon in this game, then hopefully he comes back to Celtic and continues with the great form he has been in.”
Rodgers joked that he was initially left furious by Brown’s suggestion, given how well he has played since excusing himself from international football in August.
“I said to him ‘what are you doing!?’” Rodgers smiled. “No, Scott spoke to me about it during the week to get my thoughts on it. I gave him what I thought were the positives for him and what maybe the concerns would be.
“But I think it’s a great opportunity.
“It’s been a short retirement!” he added. “But we’ll see how it goes against England and take it from there. I was a wee bit surprised when he pulled me aside. He came into the office and wanted a chat.
“But he’s a grown man, he makes his own decisions.”
Rodgers stressed that Brown’s wish to help out Strachan at such a difficult time for the Scotland manager was a mark of the man.
“Right now he sees his country stuck with some injuries and also a man he has huge admiration for, in Gordon Strachan, going through the mill a wee bit,” he said. “You have to admire that in someone.”
Meanwhile, Rodgers confirmed Scotland left-back Kieran Tierney is out for two months after sustaining ligament damage to his ankle in training last week.
“It’s going to be after Christmas that he comes back,” said the Celtic manager. “I’m devastated for him because he’s a young player with so much maturity and quality.”
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes, meanwhile, felt his side should have had a late penalty for Jozo Simunovic’s pull on Graeme Shinnie. But after Shinnie stayed upright Erik Sviatchenko denied the Dons midfielder with a sliding tackle.
“It should be a penalty kick against Shinnie,” McInnes said. “I have seen it again, Simunovic pulls him.”