BRENDAN RODGERS insists he is hopeful Scott Brown will remain at Celtic – but admits the skipper will have to make up his mind soon about the offer from Australia.

The 33-year-old midfielder, who played 81 minutes of the 3-0 Scottish Cup win over League One Airdrie at Parkhead last night, is out of contract in June and is wanted by A-League newcomers Western Melbourne.

Brown has been pondering a lucrative two-year deal with the option of a further 12 months that would bring a halt to his time at the club following his record £4.4million transfer from Hibs in the summer of 2007.

Rodgers refused to put pressure on the former Scotland international captain as he mulled over the opportunity to move his family to the other side of the world.

Following a midweek meeting, Rodgers reckons the player is close to giving his decision.

POINTING THE WAY AHEAD…Celtic skipper Scott Brown has a big decision to make. Pic: Geo.

The Hoops boss said: “I had a long chat with Scott in the week which obviously will remain private. He knows at some point fairly soon he’ll have to make a decision.

“There has been a lot going on and it is important for him that he finds that stability. He loves it here and has been here for a long time. We’ve given him time to make the best decision for him and his family.

“He’s a really good, influential player. He gives the team good stability when it’s needed. This is the first time in a long while he has had to think in relation to his future.

“He’s getting to that stage. If he looks after his body well, though, he can still play for another number of years.”

Brown will celebrate his 34th birthday on June 25 – exactly a month after the Scottish Cup Final.

Two goals from Scott Sinclair, who also missed a penalty-kick, and one from new Bhoy Timothy Weah put the holders into today’s ballot.


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