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Strachan selects Brown as Scotland captain

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05 Feb 2013 18:16:59

Strachan selects Brown as Scotland captain

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan has named Scott Brown as his first captain ahead of the friendly international against Estonia at Aberdeen's Pittodrie ground on Wednesday.

It will be the first time Celtic captain Brown has led the national side but former Hoops boss Strachan was confident his club experience would help him cope with the new role.

"He already knows what it's like to be a captain with pressure and that made him favourite," Strachan said Tuesday.

Manchester United's Darren Fletcher has been Scotland captain when fit but the midfielder is currently trying to overcome a potentially career-threatening bowel condition.

Gary Caldwell and Kenny Miller have previously shared captaincy duties in Fletcher's absence.

But Caldwell has headed back to English Premier League side Wigan Athletic with an injury and Miller is unlikely to start against Estonia because of a lack of game time as his club, Vancouver Whitecaps, are currently in their off-season.

Several other players have withdrawn from Strachan's squad, including Leeds United striker Ross McCormack and Celtic's James Forrest.

Having been a Scottish Premier League manager himself, Strachan said he understood the problems facing club bosses during friendly international weeks.

"I spoke to a lot of managers recently and I'm trying to do the best for the group and the best for the managers," he said.

"The team that is picked is the best one we can put out tomorrow (Wednesday).

"We're taking into consideration the last time they played, the conditions they played in and who'll be playing at the weekend.

"We'll try to help them and try to get something positive for ourselves," added Strachan, who is bidding to take Scotland to their first major tournament finals since the 1998 World Cup in France.

Wednesday's match promises to be extra-special for former Scotland midfielder Strachan as it as at the home of Aberdeen, the club where he made his name as a player under Alex Ferguson during seven successful years from 1977-1984.

"When I first got the job I thought 'wherever the first game is, it will be fantastic' but I think I've realised it's even more special that I'm going back to Aberdeen where I enjoyed smashing times with great players," said Strachan, who subsequently played under Ferguson at Manchester United.

"I'm going back again 30-odd years later and the best wishes have been overwhelming, especially in Aberdeen. The people that I've met around this area recently have made it even more special."

Strachan was only appointed last month with the former Celtic, Southampton, Coventry City and Middlesbrough manager replacing Craig Levein, who was sacked in November.

Levein exited after a poor start to World Cup qualifying left the Scots rooted to the bottom of European Group A with just two points from four games and their hopes of playing at Brazil 2014 hanging by a thread.

Nevertheless Strachan insisted a lack of talent was not the biggest problem confronting the Scotland squad.

"The group Craig passed to me are a smashing bunch of players and sometimes they're over-enthusiastic but we can always curtail that."

Wednesday's friendly will be the last chance Strachan has to assess his players before Scotland's World Cup qualifying campaign continues with a match against Wales at Glasgow's Hampden Park in March.


AFP

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