Callum McGregor and the Celtic 'burn out' fear as Scott Brown predicts Scotland future crunch talks

Scott Brown has backed Celtic skipper Callum McGregor to extend his international career - by helping Steve Clarke’s quest to qualify for the next World Cup.

Brown brought the curtain down on his Scotland career in August 2016, after failing to reach the European Championships in France earlier that summer. But he came out of retirement just two months later after an approach from Gordon Strachan to rejoin the squad during the campaign to make it to the World Cup in Russia. And the former Parkhead captain believes the same lure is likely to be too strong for McGregor to ignore - along with the chance to follow in the footsteps of golden oldies like Luka Modric and Ronaldo.

Asked if McGregor will continue in Clarke ’s squad for the campaign to reach the next major finals in Canada, Mexico and the USA, Brown said: “Probably. At the same time he will probably play until he is 37 or 38, not a problem. He looks after himself extremely well in terms of what he eats and how he sleeps and how he trains. He is a robot that way.

“He will make sure he continues to be in tip top condition. If anyone is to go that far it will be Callum. He will be looking at the Ronaldos and other people like Pepe and Modric, who are still playing at Champions League level and looking after themselves. He will be thinking, ‘If they can do it then why can I?’.”

McGregor turned 31 on June 14 - the day Scotland opened up in the Euros with a 5-1 thrashing against Germany in Munich. He has been granted extra holiday time by Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers and has played no part in summer friendlies against Brown’s Ayr United and Queens Park.

But the captain will return next week before the champions head to the States for tour games against DC United, Manchester City and Chelsea. And he’s likely to have a heart-to-heart with Rodgers during that trip over his Scotland future.

Brown said: “You don’t want to burn him out. You don’t want to lose him. But, at the same time, he will see a World Cup on the horizon and he will want to play obviously and show we can get to it. It’s a hard one - but it is on him. That’s the best advice I can give, ‘It’s on you wee man!”