TWO weeks ago, in this very column, I called on Gordon Strachan to bring back Scott Brown.
Now it looks like the Scotland manager was listening.
By going back to the future, I reckon wee Gordon has given us a fighting chance of putting England’s backs to the wall at Wembley.
And he will deserve huge credit if, as seems likely, he has indeed cajoled his former captain to return to the national team.
Make no mistake, a fit and firing Scott Brown will make a huge difference to Strachan’s side.
He’s the snapping, snarling leader we’ve been missing in the early days of this campaign – the ankle-biting midfield mauler we’ve looked toothless without.
But that’s not all he is.
Since Brendan Rodgers arrived at Celtic Park, Broony has rediscovered something that seemed to have deserted him under Ronny Deila – self-belief.
Scott is suddenly as comfortable on the ball as he always has been, thundering into tackles.
He’s fitter, he’s hungrier, he’s deadlier. And his upturn in form hasn’t gone unnoticed by his manager.
Brendan has spent so much time talking his star man up it’s a wonder he’s managed to fit in anything else.
But it’s an approach – one of puffing up his captain’s confidence levels – that is working wonders.
At 31, Scott is in the form of his life, and it looked like Celtic’s gain was going to be Scotland’s loss.
The opening to our World Cup qualifying campaign made it even harder to take.
Watching Scotland’s midfield struggle to assert itself against Malta, Lithuania and Slovakia while Scott Brown was bossing games at club level was a real sickener.
No disrespect to Darren Fletcher, Barry Bannan and James McArthur – all are excellent footballers – but not one of them has Broony’s dig.
The fact Scotland were missing their former captain badly was as clear as day to me. Clearly, Gordon Strachan saw it. too.
The Scotland boss has endured a heavy bombardment of flak over the last few weeks.
With yet another campaign on the brink of being over before it has really begun, the Tartan Army’s anger was understandable.
But let’s give credit where it’s due – Gordon saw a problem and moved to solve it.
It wouldn’t have been easy for the manager to broach the subject of an international return with his former captain.
In football, perhaps more than in other walks of life, pride and ego are major players.
But this is one of those occasions where both needed to be put aside for the greater good.
It’s as simple as this – Scotland are a
better team with Scott Brown than without him.
Both manager and player should be patted on the back for recognising that, then acting on it.
Regardless of how guys in the camp will try to play it down, our impending trip to Wembley will make or break our World Cup hopes.
Big games need big players – and right now Broony is Scotland’s biggest.
Could Scott Brown come out of international retirement to play at Wembley?
Alan Brazil: Gordon Strachan needs to send out an SOS to Celtic captain Scott Brown for Wembley
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