Celtic's Scott Brown gets Alex McLeish's backing for Premiership player award

Celtic captain Scott Brown
Brown has played in 51 games for Celtic this season

Alex McLeish says Celtic captain Scott Brown would be his player of the year in Scotland.

Brown recently retired from international duty but is among the nominations for the PFA Scotland's Premiership award, which is voted for by fellow professionals.

"Scott Brown has been on amazing form every time I've watched him," Scotland manager McLeish said.

"It's hard to look past the consistency of someone like that."

Brown is up against fellow Celtic midfielder James Forrest, Kilmarnock striker Kris Boyd and Hibernian midfielder John McGinn for the PFA award.

But McLeish thinks the 32-year-old would be worthy of winning the accolade for a second time - he was player of the year in 2009 - after leading his side to a League Cup triumph, a likely seventh league title in a row and the forthcoming Scottish Cup final.

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Watch PFA Scotland Player of the Year nominees in action

"He's obviously retired from the national team, but he's got to be up there," he said.

"He will tell you himself, as he did when I spoke to him about the national team, that he felt he was feeling it more now - the games, the travelling, coming back, the commitment to both teams.

"When you get more experienced as a player, you know your own body, whereas perhaps as a young player you don't treat it with the same respect that you do as you get older.

"I guess that is why he chose to leave, but his form has been very good. He's an outstanding candidate for the award."

Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney is up again for the Scottish Professional Football League Young Player of the Year award he has already won two seasons in a row.

However, McLeish also had praise for Aberdeen central defender Scott McKenna, who is among the four-strong list of nominations along with Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos and St Mirren's on-loan Celtic winger, Lewis Morgan.

Aberdeen defender Scott McKenna celebrates
Young player of the year nominee Scott McKenna also received praise from McLeish

"McKenna at Aberdeen has shown what can happen inside a year or two," he said of the 21-year-old.

"We've been talking about a lack of centre-halves coming through over the last three or four years and now we have a new influx of young ones.

"Celtic's Jack Hendry as well, who had a really good debut in Hungary. These boys are hopefully Scotland's future."

McLeish's predecessor as national boss, Gordon Strachan, often lamented the lack of options available to him in a position in which his former Aberdeen team-mate won 77 caps.

However, McKenna's form in his first season in the Dons first-team led McLeish to cap the 21-year-old twice, while Hearts' John Souttar, Barnsley's Liam Lindsay and Rangers duo Ross McCrorie and David Bates have also received praise for their club performances.

"I said when I got the job that there's been a surge of good young players coming through the ranks," McLeish added.

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