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'Deserves it' - Scott Brown hails Celtic senior player as landmark looms

By James Black

Celtic captain Scott Brown has hailed Craig Gordon ahead of his 50th cap for Scotland – and insists the ‘keeper “deserves” it.

Senior player Gordon should reach the landmark during Scotland’s World Cup qualifying double header with Slovakia and Slovenia after fearing at one point that his career was over.

The goalkeeper missed two years of first-team football after a string of injuries left his career hanging by a thread but the former Hearts and Sunderland star eventually returned to senior football in 2014 before establishing himself as Celtic’s number one.

Brown will miss the final round of World Cup qualifiers with a calf injury picked up in Celtic’s Champions League win with Anderlecht but will be at Hampden to cheer the national side on Thursday night.

“It will be a great occasion for him and he deserves it,” Brown told Celtic’s official website.

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“Had it not been for his injuries then he would have had a lot more caps and played more games for Sunderland, and he was fantastic down there. We are lucky to have him now, and it also helps me…as at least there is one person in the team who is older than me!”

Scotland could book a place in the play-offs with two wins as they look to qualify for a major competition for the first time since the World Cup in 1998.

Craig Brown’s side faced Brazil, Norway and Morocco in France during the 1998 finals and five managers have since tried and failed to qualify.

Berti Vogts, George Burley, Craig Levein, Alex McLeish and Walter Smith have all attempted to take the Tartan Army to a major finals and Strachan is four games away from leading the Scots out in Russia next summer.

Scotland face Slovakia tonight at Hampden then travel to Ljubjana to take on Slovenia on Sunday.

In other Celtic news, Alan Brazil has said what will happen if the Bhoys and Rangers joined the English leagues.

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