SCOTT BROWN admits he doesn’t care if critics belief he can’t pick and choose what Scotland games to play in as he ponders his international future.
And the Scotland and Celtic captain has revealed he will make himself available to the country’s new manager if he is required.
It was 17 months ago the midfielder retired from international football in order to prolong his club career, only to reverse the decision two months later to help out Gordon Strachan.
At 32, Brown is once again weighing up whether he will be able to commit to another full campaign which will conclude when he’s 35. It may mean the combative central midfielder may pick and choose which games he is available for, a suggestion which has previously been met with dissenting voices among the Scotland support.
“Aye but it’s lucky I don’t read any of that,” said Brown, speaking in Dubai. “I need to think about playing for as long as I can and doing what’s best for me.
“If it comes to it, stuff everybody else to be perfectly honest. I’ve got to make sure that I can play as long as I possibly can.
“It’s the thing I enjoy best and it’s the only thing I really know how to do. So for me sometimes I need to take a step back and think about it for myself and then go from there.”
He added: “I love playing for Scotland, the [Euro] finals in 2020 have games in Glasgow which would be great but I don’t even know if I’ll still be playing by then!
“But I love playing for Scotland. I enjoy it and I really enjoy being captain of Scotland. It’s a huge honour but sometimes you need to look after your own body. I retired the last time due to me not being fit enough. I couldn’t set the standards I wanted to set for Celtic or Scotland.
“It was hard but since the manager came in here he’s freshened everything up and I feel good again now. But that’s a thing I need to keep in the back of my mind, that I don’t kill myself going away with Scotland for ten days and two big games.
“I need to be playing for Celtic as well so I need to make sure I’m fine for the best of both worlds really.”
Brown previously blasted the Scottish Football Association for the protracted hunt to find a successor for Strachan who left the position of national manager at the end of the failed World Cup campaign, describing it as a ‘pain in the a***’.
The Scotland captain’s decision to come out of retirement for the England v Scotland game at Wembley in 2016 was largely down to the relationship he had with Strachan, and therefore many expect the unveiling of the new candidate to be pivotal to Brown’s decision on whether or not he’ll stay on.
“We’ll see who comes in,” he said. “Then we’ll see what happens.
“Listen, I’ve not made any decision whatsoever. The way I’m playing I’m enjoying my football. I play as many games as I can, If the Scotland games come and the new manager wants me to come along then I’m happy to go.
“But it could be that he doesn’t want me!
“With me it’s still about fitness, and the fact that any manager who comes in picks who he wants. He names 25 or 26 to come along so if you’re not in the squad that’s that.
“I might get to turn up and have a coffee with the lads and that’s it!”