NEIL LENNON reckons Scott Brown can play for another three or four years at the top level.
The 32-year-old Celtic skipper announced his international retirement yesterday to concentrate on club duties.
Former Hoops boss Lennon said: “He is a genuine leader, so it will be difficult for Scotland to replace him.
“However, from Celtic’s point of view, I think he can play at this level and sustain the kind of form he has shown this season until he is 35 or 36.
“He is a fit lad, really strong and he looks after himself really well. He has a young family now and I think it is probably more so about spending the time away from home when there is so much of that at club level, anyway.
“But what it will enable him to do is focus purely on Celtic and that is no bad thing from the club’s point of view.
“If you are in Brendan Rodgers’ shoes, then you are thinking when the international games come around that it is one player, a key player for you, that you don’t have to worry about losing to injury or need to give a rest to in subsequent games.
“If you watch Scott and look at his stats in games, he is still covering a helluva lot of ground.
“He is still producing at this level and you could argue that he is one of the most consistent performers in the team. There is no reason now why he can’t sustain that.”
Brown, of course, is the player the opposing fans love to hate, but Lennon insisted that won’t faze the player.
The Hibs boss added: “You do probably have to be a certain kind of character for that, but he loves it.
“I think it brings the best out in him. He is a real character and the Celtic fans love him for that. They don’t suffer fools gladly and I think when he is not in the team you see how much he is missed.
“You see that incident up at Pittodrie the other day and you just have a chuckle to yourself. That is him all over the back.
“He really does revel in it, but to me it has always been a back-handed compliment when you are targeted like that either by players or opposition supporters.
“If you offered Scott Brown to any team in the league, they would bite your hand off.
“He has that fear factor for other teams. I know he stepped down from international football before and then came back for Gordon Strachan, but I think it will be his final decision now and it is probably best for everyone that there is a bit of closure on it.
“It will give him a bit more time to savour winding everyone up.”