Scotland: Neil Lennon hopes Scott Brown will be available for crucial England match

Neil Lennon was Scott Brown's manager during his time in charge of Celtic
Neil Lennon was Scott Brown's manager during his time in charge of Celtic

Neil Lennon hopes Scott Brown makes himself available for Scotland's match against England - a game the Hibernian boss is convinced the Scots can win.

Brown returned to the fold for the 3-0 defeat away to England in November, but has yet to confirm if he will still be available for the return in June.

Lennon believes Scotland can come out on top in the World Cup qualifier and would love to see Brown feature.

"The team needs him and the country needs him," Lennon told BBC Scotland.

Key dates
21 May: Celtic's final Premiership match this season
27 May: Scottish Cup final, possibly featuring Celtic
10 June: Scotland v England
27/28 June: Champions League 1st qualifying round, 1st leg
Weekend of 5 August: Start of 2017-18 SPFL season

Brown, who worked under Lennon when he was Celtic manager, skippered the Scotland side that secured a 1-0 win against Slovenia on Sunday night to reignite their World Cup 2018 qualifying campaign.

'I think they can beat England at Hampden'

The June Group F qualifier against England would, however, deny Brown the rest time that played a part in his initial decision to retire from Scotland duty.

But the Hibs boss reckons there is a solution to suit Brown and his club.

Chris Martin scored the winner as Scotland beat Slovenia on Sunday
Chris Martin scored the winner as Scotland beat Slovenia on Sunday

"The other thing is that they (Celtic) could win the league this weekend and then they don't have what you would call a meaningful game until the (Scottish Cup) semi-final, so maybe Brendan (Rodgers, Celtic manager) could tell him to go and have a week or 10 days now," said Lennon, who described Brown as "outstanding" in the Slovenia match.

"Then he'd have had a holiday during the season but before the Scotland game, then maybe more time off after that. Listen, I'm not going to tell Brendan how to do his job but that may be a solution for Scott getting more rest.

"He's looked as fresh as I've seen him in a long time so whatever they're doing in training at Celtic, it's working."

Lennon was highly impressed with how the under-pressure Scots performed against Slovenia, and reckons that lays a solid foundation for England's visit.

"I think they can beat England at Hampden," he added. "I've not been overly-impressed with England, although they are an excellent side that have quality players, but Scotland at home, off the back of a great win, and having lost at Wembley - there's plenty of sub-plots in that one.

"If you look at the score-line against England it was 3-0, but for 65-70 minutes Scotland were, for me, the better team at Wembley. That result on Sunday will hopefully galvanise them, it puts them right back in the group and hopefully it will galvanise the support."

Neil Lennon has been highly-impressed with the job Jim Duffy has done at Morton
Neil Lennon has paid tribute to the work of Morton manager Jim Duffy

Lennon is, of course, close to leading Hibs to the Championship title with the Easter Road outfit enjoying a 10-point lead at the summit with seven games to play.

The first of those comes against Morton on Wednesday night and Lennon said: "It's going to be another tough game and Morton, off the back of a defeat, will be keen to rectify that.

"He (Morton manager Jim Duffy) has worked wonders, not only are they up there challenging for promotion but they made the semi-final of the League Cup as well. Jim has galvanised them and made them a real force in the league."

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