IT should come as no surprise to anyone that Scott Brown is in demand.
The Celtic skipper is wanted by clubs in the United States and Australia.
But the most important thing is that Brendan Rodgers, Peter Lawwell and Dermot Desmond want to keep him at Parkhead.
My belief is that Brown will stay where he is to try to win as many more trophies with the club as possible.
The player is well within his rights to take his time over his future. There is no rush.
At 33, the next contract he puts pen to paper on will be an important one – it could well be his last if he signs a three-year deal, for example – and he will want to weigh up all the pros and cons with his family of staying put or moving away.
I’m not privy to what is going through Scott’s mind. And I’m not in the know when it comes to any interest in him from clubs trying to lure him away.
It could well be he has some lucrative offers to consider – or it could well be someone has a fertile imagination.
But what is for sure is that Brendan knows his captain’s worth, and will do everything he can to keep him.
He will not pressurise him, however, and that is the way to deal with this situation.
Scott already has eight SPFL championships under his belt, including skippering the club to this magnificent run of seven-in-a-row.
Could the thought of making history and going all the way to 10 titles be enough to keep him where he is?
I’d have to say “yes” to that question.
Before we get down to the nitty gritty of his future, however, what is more pressing for Scott is trying to get back into the first team – and staying there.
In his absence through injury in the past four or five weeks, the Celts have played some very good football. They have been free-flowing and full of menace in the final third.
Callum McGregor has stepped into Brown’s role and performed admirably. Ryan Christie has also emerged as a top talent. He has been outstanding.
Some are actually saying that Celtic play better with Scott not in the team.
I wouldn’t go that far.
Regular readers of this column will know that I have praised Scott to the full in the past two seasons, and had him down as Player of the Year in successive seasons.
So, you won’t hear me ready to write him off. That would be an act of sheer folly.
The bottom line is that he is still the main man and I don’t expect that to change any time soon.
He has been injured and missing games, and that is part and parcel of football.
It’s now about how he bounces back and, although I’m sure he will be absolutely desperate to get back into the first team on a regular basis, he will not need to be rushed.
His absence worked out well for the likes of Christie and, in turn, worked out well for Scotland and Alex McLeish.
Christie started the victories against Albania and Israel and was different class.
Yes, with his five goals, James Forrest stole the show and grabbed the headlines.
But it was a real team effort. From David Bates and Scott McKenna at the heart of the defence, to Callum Paterson and Andrew Robertson in the full-back roles, to Steven Fletcher leading the line superbly well as the No. 9, it was great to watch and made me very proud.
The contribution of Allan McGregor in goal was also significant.
He made yet another top-drawer save against Israel at a crucial time. He just keeps improving week after week, never mind season after season.
It was also great for the Scotland supporters to witness the last two games.
We had more than 2,000 fans in Albania, and that is an unbelievable turnout.
We then had in the region of 23,000 at Hampden on Tuesday night and they should all be applauded for turning out to cheer on the team and a freezing, wet night.
Some may want to take the view that it’s disappointing that the stadium was only around half-full.
I’d rather be positive and concentrate on the fans who were there, and the contribution they made to the back-to-back victories.
Finishing top of the section after the thrilling 3-2 win against Israel means we are guaranteed a play-off for Euro 2020.
That should give us all great comfort and optimism.
We’ll see what the draw brings us in Dublin on December 2.
I’m not getting carried away, but let’s believe we can qualify automatically next year.
Alex and the players will certainly be thinking that way.
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