SCOTT BROWN is poised to lead Scotland in their make-or-break World Cup qualifier against England at Hampden on Saturday.
But only a year ago the Celtic skipper thought he was heading for soccer’s scrapheap.
The 31-year-old midfielder had suffered hamstring problems in the run-in to Ronny Deila’s second and final campaign as Hoops boss.
Brown, though, has undergone a remarkable transition in the past 12 months and admitted: “I am enjoying my football and, as soon as that happens, you might as well play as much as possible.
“Last year, I wasn’t fit and not enjoying it. That’s what happens when you are struggling with injuries. I thought my career was coming to an end as it was one injury after another.
“Gordon Strachan came to my house at the end of last season and said: ‘How are you feeling?’
“I said: ‘My legs have gone, I’m struggling to chase people around and I’m not feeling myself’’.
“He said: ‘I see that. Everyone sees that. How are you going to fix yourself? What are you going to do? Coaching? Put that to one side. Coach when you are 40. Go out there and prove everyone wrong’.
“I had to change a lot of things to try to get myself as fit as possible then maintain that.
“For me to call it a day with Scotland might have been a bit premature, but I got the six weeks off, I got the holidays and I came back feeling as fit as I ever have done.
“My fitness levels are through the roof from this time 12 months ago and I just want to maintain those levels.”
Brown added he is now only concerned with the opinions of Strachan after his Scotland comeback and those of his Hoops gaffer Brendan Rodgers.
He said: “We got through to the Champions League group stages and I was feeling really good about myself, as good as I’ve felt for a long time.
“Me and Gordon had a wee chat. I was the one who drove it, I love playing with Scotland. It’s great.
“At the time I was the captain and I was sad that I had to give it up, but I had to for myself.
“It’s the first selfish thing I’ve done in football and it was the best decision I have made.
“I’m now wanting to prove a little point that I’m not finished yet and I’ve got a few years left.”
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