KEVIN Thomson reckons the key to Scott Brown’s international future lies in his relationship with Scotland manager Gordon Strachan.
Brown admits he is still agonising over whether to continue his return from the international retirement he announced last summer.
The 31-year-old pulled on the dark blue of his country for November’s 3-0 defeat to England at Wembley as a personal favour to Strachan.
The fear of many in the Tartan Army is it may have been just one last hurrah, rather than a lasting comeback.
The Celtic skipper has hinted that, with Scotland’s return clash with the Auld Enemy at Hampden on June 10 allowing him just a 10-day summer break before the start of pre-season training, he could call it quits again.
He has promised to make a decision ‘three or four weeks’ before the squad is selected for the meeting with Slovenia on March 26 and is expected to hold talks with Strachan later this month.
And Thomson, firm friends with Brown since their days as youngsters at Hibs, believes those discussions could prove pivotal to his former Old Firm rival’s final decision.
The former Rangers midfielder said: “As a fan, I would love to see him play because I still think he helps the team.
“As a mate, I would still love to see him play.
“But, for Scott, the decision has to be his and what he feels comfortable with.
“It has to be a gut-decision based on what he feels can prolong his career for as long as he possibly can.
“Sadly, Celtic is bread and butter. Scotland is amazing and, as fans, we would all love to see him play.
“But if Scott plays an extra campaign with Scotland and it curtails his club career then it’s probably the wrong decision.
“In my opinion, if there is anyone who is going to sway his mind it would be Gordon.
“That will be a conversation that Gordon and him are going to have.
“He thinks Gordon is as good as it gets, really.
“So, if there is one person who is going to get him to sway his mind and pull that jersey on it would definitely be him.”
Thomson believes a ‘wee edge’ was missing from Brown in recent times under previous Celtic manager Ronny Deila but reckons his pal is back to his very best under Brendan Rodgers.
And the 32-year-old hopes he can display that form for Scotland as well as Celtic.
Thomson, speaking in St Andrews as Hibs’ extensive ‘Persevered’ Scottish Cup tour stopped in at the British Golf Museum, added: “I think he looks like the Scott Brown of five or six years ago when he was tenacious and he was hard to play against.
“It’s a difficult decision for him (on Scotland) because he’s probably playing as well as he’s played for the last three or four years.
“I would love to see him pulling on the dark blue jersey and helping the country.
“But from a personal point of view it’s down to him and what he thinks is best for himself and his family.”