Celtic skipper Scott Brown reaping the rewards after hanging up Scotland boots

Celtic skipper Scott Brown reckons he has already justified the decision to hang up his Scotland boots with his starring display against Manchester City.

Fulham: Celtic skipper Scott Brown reaping the rewards after hanging up Scotland bootsFulham: Celtic skipper Scott Brown reaping the rewards after hanging up Scotland boots

The Hoops midfielder was back to his energetic best against Pep Guardiola’s side as he covered every blade of grass during last week’s Champions League thriller.

The 3-3 draw came a month after the 31-year-old announced he was calling it a day on the international front in order to prolong his Celtic career.

The 50-cap midfielder – who wrestled with ankle, hip and hamstring issues in recent years – feared the toll of turning out for both club and country was threatening his place in Brendan Rodgers’ Parkhead line-up.

Not everyone agreed with the national team captain’s decision, with former Celtic favourite Kenny Dalglish suggesting he might come to regret walking away from Scotland.

But Brown believes he has already shown how the extra time off is benefiting his battered body after going toe-to-toe with the likes of David Silva and Raheem Sterling.

And he says retiring from Scotland duty could now see him add another three years to his Celtic stint.

Brown said: “Calling it a day with Scotland is helping me with my Celtic career right now. It’s keeping me on track and pushing me to new levels. It’s giving me the little bit of extra energy and the extra bit of rest time I was definitely needing.

“I think my performance against Manchester City proves I was right to make that decision.

“A lot of people have doubted my judgement but I knew what was best for my body.

“The extra games I was playing I could only manage 80 per cent of what I was capable of. I went through them all for as long as I possibly could.

“But it came to the point I had to make a decision and I thought it was better to make it at the start of a campaign rather than halfway through one.

“Hopefully I’ve added a good two or three years to my career at least,” he said.

“I’m feeling fresh and back to my old self. My energy levels are going through the roof again.”

Scotland got the post-Brown era off to the perfect start as they kicked off their 2018 World Cup bid with a 5-1 romp away to Malta last month.

Gordon Strachan’s squad will now hope to build the momentum which will take them all the way to Russia when they face Lithuania at Hampden on Saturday.

Brown will take some time off from babysitting to watch his former team-mates in action – but he admits his new routine is not all child’s play.

“It feels a bit strange not to be involved with the team this week,” said the former Hibs battler. “I’m in the house watching the kids when I’m used to being at Mar Hall lying with my feet up, chilling, getting my dinner made for me and coffees brought to me.

“How times have changed.

“I’ll be at the game on Saturday though. I’m going along to collect my 50th cap. I’ve got a little presentation and need to get a couple of pictures taken.

“It will be good to see the gaffer and all the boys as well.”

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