CELTIC midfielder Scott Brown has retired from international football, the Scottish Football Association has announced.
The 31-year-old, who also captained the side during the last campaign, says he has made the decision to prolong his club career.
He told the SFA website: “I’m not the type of player who can coast half-heartedly through a game – I give 100% every time.
“Given the importance of this campaign for Scotland, and the challenges ahead at Celtic, I simply felt that I could not keep up both commitments without either my performances or recovery time suffering.
“Gordon [Strachan] has been one of the most influential people in my career and I did not want to let him or my country down but over the summer I had a lot of thinking to do.
“It’s no secret that I’ve suffered some injuries in my career and once you get over 30 you have to protect your body more, in any case.”
Brown made his 50th appearance for Scotland in a friendly against Denmark in March, having made his debut against in a friendly against the USA back in 2005.
He made his competitive debut in 2007 in a Euro 2008 qualifier against Georgia.
Strachan appointed Brown as his first Scotland captain in 2013 with Darren Fletcher battling illness.
“I would like to thank Gordon for giving me the honour of not only playing for my country but captaining Scotland in the last campaign,” said Brown.
“I also owe a debt to every Scotland manager before him who selected me – right back to Walter Smith handing me my senior debut, and the national youth coaches along the way.”
Despite being involved with the squad for over a decade, Brown admitted he was disappointed that he was never able to reach major championship finals with his country.
He said: “The personal disappointment was heightened this summer but we have a great squad of players and I am certain that we can really make a go of this campaign and qualify for Russia.
“I genuinely think we showed in the last campaign that we are good enough to compete with Germany, the world champions, and other nations who qualified ahead of us. I would like to thank the fans who travel across Europe to back us, my team-mates and the backroom staff for their support and look forward to seeing them soon.”
Strachan paid tribute to the midfielder, insisting the national squad would miss him.
He said: “Scott is one of the most wholehearted players I’ve encountered and somebody who puts the team ahead of himself. He is not the type to play within himself, either, and I understand and respect the decision he has taken.
“I have huge admiration for a player as selfless as he has been: to sacrifice family time and recovery time to help his country.
“We will miss Scott as a player, no doubt about it, but football evolves and it provides an opportunity for others to step-up take that responsibility. We’ll miss him as a person, too, because his influence and popularity around the squad was integral to all that we did as a group.”
The World Cup qualifying campaign starts in Malta on September 4, with the squad due to be announced in the coming week.
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