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Friday 21 September 2018

Brown: Celtic not helped by Scot friendlies

Scottish Premiership, Partick Th v Celtic, Live BT Sport 1 (KO 7.45)

Celtic captain Scott Brown
Celtic captain Scott Brown

Scott Brown concedes Scotland's summer friendlies will benefit the new national team boss but not necessarily Celtic's international players.

The SFA - who learned that Michael O'Neill turned down the vacant managerial post to stay with Northern Ireland - has arranged four friendlies this year as they prepare for the inaugural UEFA Nations League, including a trip to Peru on May 29 before taking on Mexico away on June 2.

The Parkhead club have recently provided Scotland and Hoops captain Brown, Craig Gordon, Kieran Tierney, Stuart Armstrong, Callum McGregor, James Forrest and Leigh Griffiths to the national squad.

Celtic, in the likelihood of them winning the Ladbrokes Premiership title again, will begin their Champions League qualification campaign on July 10/11.

Ahead of the Premiership clash with Partick Thistle at Firhill tonight, and before news of O'Neill's decision broke, Brown said: "The holiday time is huge. Last year we got six days and came back in and went straight into the Champions League qualifiers.

"We will probably get a week and a half this year.

"It is getting not so good in the holiday but you get the opportunity to play for Scotland. There will be a new manager in and he will obviously want to see everybody. So there is a couple of friendlies coming in March and June as well, it will be good for him but maybe not so good for all the Celtic lads.

"We will see what happens when it comes. There are a lot of games from now until then, you never know what can happen."

Celtic assistant manager Chris Davies admitted Scotland's post-season friendlies were "obviously not ideal timing for us."

He said: "The manager (Brendan Rodgers) will look at that but I don't know what we will do.

"But it is the national team so we will see what happens.

"You do need a break, the players need a break.

"You cannot play 12 months non-stop and expect at a big club, the level of intensity, you want to be in the Champions League, it is impossible for players to play for 12 months."

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