SCOTT BROWN will be a key player for Celtic when they take on Riga in the Europa League qualifier in Latvia on Thursday evening.

However, boss Neil Lennon admits the 35-year-old captain could find himself being invited to take a rest between games during what he terms a “monumental season” for the Hoops in their bid for the historic 10 successive titles.

The Parkhead gaffer acknowledged it is “common sense” to keep his onfield leader sharp for the crucial encounters that lie ahead for the champions.

Lennon, speaking to Scotland on Sunday, said: “Browny knows he will not be able to play all the games, as well, but he is very, very fit as he always has been.

“He is injury free and his form is good because in these last few games he has really been coming into his own. So, we will have a conversation with him as we go along about dipping in and out. If there are games where he could do with putting his feet up or getting a bit of breathing space.

“Obviously, we’ll try to have him ready for really intense games where his experience and quality are valuable.”

TWO HEADS ARE BETTER THAN ONE…Scott Brown and Callum McGregor against Livingston.

Brown played solidly in the 3-2 victory over Livingston at Parkhead yesterday that pushed the team back to the Premiership pinnacle.

And he will be in the thick of it again as Lennon’s men step onto the European tightrope with no sign of a safety net.

It is unthinkable for the side to crash out at this level after being dumped from the Champions League after losing 2-1 to Ferencavros in Glasgow last month.

Lennon added: “You can’t under-estimate any of these teams. They may incorporate Brazilians and that will bring a different culture and a different style. Obviously, they will need to be adapted to. I think it is a difficult tie for us.

“I’m not going to say it’s a walkover, far from it. We’ll do our analysis over the next few days. I think we’ll have to leave a day earlier, on the Tuesday. So that’ll allow us to acclimatise a little bit earlier to the place and the time obviously.

“We will leave no stone unturned in our preparations.”


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