Football: Brown brushes aside Celtic speculation to focus on Swedes

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The Independent Online
Matters domestic rather then international infringed on Scotland's World Cup campaign yesterday as the manager, Craig Brown, arrived with his squad in Gothenburg yesterday for tomorrow's qualifier against Sweden.

Brown found himself linked to the manager's job at Celtic, even though Tommy Burns still holds the post, albeit tenuously after the Tennents Scottish Cup semi-final defeat by Falkirk.

However, Brown is insisting that his immediate task of gaining a result against Sweden - and possibly securing Scotland's passage to the finals in France - is not undermined.

He said: "I am concentrating totally on the game against Sweden. The reports linking me to Celtic are certainly speculation, as far as I am concerned.

"If there is any truth in it, I am flattered and surprised but I don't think this is how Celtic do business. I am not looking for another job. I have too much accountability to Scotland."

Brown's contract with the Scottish Football Association runs to July 1998, after the World Cup finals. He added: "I would like to continue to the finals. That is my aim at the moment. I get superb help from my terrific back-up team."

Brown has been forced to make a number of changes to his squad against Sweden, but there were no further withdrawals yesterday. The only real worry is the Celtic midfielder Paul McStay, who has a nagging ankle injury.

In England's group, the Juventus striker Christian Vieri is out of the Italian team to face Poland in Naples. The 23-year-old left Italy's training camp near Florence on Sunday, suffering from tonsillitis. Poland will be missing the forward Andrzej Juskowiak, who has dropped out because of an ankle injury.

Tunisia need one point from their last two games to become the first of the five African qualifiers for the finals after securing a 2-0 home win over Liberia on Sunday. The Tunisians are likely to be joined by Nigeria and Morocco, who both consolidated their positions with victories.

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