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Brown welcomes Griffiths return

Scott Brown believes the return of Leigh Griffiths would be a timely boost for both Scotland and Celtic.

The Hoops striker has been out since a 3-1 victory over Hearts in late August due to personal problems which were followed by niggling injuries and a virus.

However, the Scotland forward scored a brace for Celtic reserves against Stenhousemuir in a friendly at Lennoxtown on Wednesday.

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And with Scotland having a Nations League play-off semi-final to look forward to in March and Celtic already qualified for the last 32 of the Europa League in the midst of a tough domestic campaign, Brown insists a fully-fit Griffiths would provide a fillip for both club and country.

Speaking at the SEC Armadillo in Glasgow before the ‘An Evening with Broony’ event, the midfielder said: “We need Leigh to be back fit as a fiddle, working hard and back to doing what he does best, scoring goals.

“Whether it’s for us, for Scotland, it’d be a great boost and it would be a good boost for us as well.

“When he played for Scotland he was incredible. I enjoyed playing with him.

“You saw the way he played against England, those two free-kicks (in 2017’s 2-2 draw). It wasn’t just about the free-kicks, it was about how you control two centre-halves.

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“We all know what his left foot can do anyway, we know he is going to put the ball in the back of the net but it’s just about making sure that he is as fit as he possibly can (be).”

Brown, 34, retired from Scotland duty to prolong his Celtic career but was pleased to see his Hoops team-mates return from international duty with Scotland following back-to-back wins.

After beating Cyprus 2-1 on Saturday, Steve Clarke’s side concluded their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a 3-1 win over Kazakhstan at Hampden Park on Tuesday night and the former Hibernian player was impressed.

Brown said: “After the first half, when Kazakhstan came out, Scotland were fantastic.

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“They pressed and put them under pressure and scored some great goals as well.

“They (Celtic players) have got that buzz back as well. They enjoyed the camp, they came back with a smile on their face, they won two games and that’s what international football is all about.

“When you win you come back with a smile on your face.

“When you get beat you are a little bit disappointed but you’ve got to make sure you kick on and go again for your club.”

The Ladbrokes Premiership leaders have won seven out of seven since their 2-0 defeat by Saturday’s opponents Livingston in West Lothian last month.

Livingston v Celtic – Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership – Tony Macaroni Arena

Livingston’s Lyndon Dykes celebrates scoring their second goal against Celtic

Brown said: “Yeah, we didn’t play that well that game and emotions got the best everyone that day.

“It was a hard start. Ryan (Christie) got sent off but we should perform a lot better as 10 men, we’ve done it before in the past.

“The AstroTurf definitely doesn’t help but it was the same for both teams. It’s about how we bounce back.

“The defeats always linger in the back your mind. It’s always a sore one to take no matter who beats us but we’re looking forward to the game, especially being at Celtic Park.”