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BROONIE’S CLUB AND COUNTRY TARGETS

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SCOTT BROWN is looking forward to Scotland’s World Cup qualifier against England at Hampden on Saturday.
But the Celtic skipper admitted his thoughts this summer won’t be far away from the club’s Champions League qualifiers.
The 31-year-old midfielder will only get 10 days holiday before reporting back to Lennoxtown for pre-season training.
However, the Hoops’ influential onfield leader isn’t complaining.
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He said: “I think we all know how crucial the qualifiers are. We know what we have to do this summer and although it means a short break, we know what is at stake for the club.
“We are back and straight into the qualifiers, so we all have our programmes to stick to and know what we have to do in order that we go back ready to hit the ground running.“I am really looking forward to the game against England because it is such a massive fixture.

“Historically, it has always been a huge fixture and it is a chance for us to go and get something from the game.“But it is fair to say that making sure we are back in tip-top condition for the qualifiers is so important.”

Brown missed qualifiers for the group stages of the Champions League in 2014 when a hamstring injury sustained in a pre-season game kept him on the sidelines.

He said: “Those games when I was out and watching were far tougher than actually being out playing.

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“At least, when you are involved in the games you feel like you have an influence, that you can do something to affect the outcome.“But when I was sitting watching the boys go through it, it was murder!

“It is probably the most nervous I have been watching games because you know what the prize is on offer and you are just so desperate to get there.

“They are always quite tense games because of that. I know that I would far rather be out on that pitch trying to make sure we get through than kicking every ball from a seat in the stand.”

There are six Celtic players in Strachan’s squad for this weekend’s qualifier and Brown believes that having the nucleus of a winning team can only enhance Scotland’s prospects.

He added: “I think we have fostered a club mentality at Scotland and that can only help us. We know one another’s game so well and it is good to have that at international level.

“The spirit within the team is good and, hopefully, we can take that into the game against England.”

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