Scott Brown dismisses calls for Craig Levein to be sacked from Scotland job

 

Scott Brown has rubbished calls for Craig Levein to step down or be sacked in the wake of Scotland's dismal start to their 2014 World Cup qualifiers, which saw them drop four points in their opening two home games.

A section of the Tartan Army have demanded a change of manager after the 1-1 draw with Macedonia at Hampden on Tuesday night, which following the goalless draw against Serbia on Saturday.

It was hoped that Scots would get off to a flier with maximum points but they are already trailing Serbia, Croatia and Belgium in Group A by two points.

The Celtic skipper missed both qualifiers with a hip injury but is hoping be back for the double header away to Wales and Belgium next month.

Asked if the pleas for Levein to go this early in the campaign were over the top, Brown said: "Yes, definitely. He is a good manager.

"We start with 4-5-1, we try to go forward, we create chances but it's just not been happening, yet.

"I think we have played quite well, we have just been unlucky here and there not to score goals but the lads have given everything.

"We are only two points behind the teams at the top of the group so there are a lot of game to play, still 24 points out there, so wait and see what we can do."

Brown, 27, denies more pressure has been heaped upon the team ahead of the trip to Cardiff.

"There is always pressure going into every Scotland game," said Brown, who was publicising ESPN's coverage of his club's visit to St Johnstone on Saturday.

"Everyone expects us to win every game two or three nil but we know that's not going to be the case.

"There are a lot of hard teams in the group as has been shown.

"We have faith in the manager and a lot of faith in ourselves as well. You always want to win, the players want to win as well.

"It is always hard when you go out there and people think it is easy because it is Macedonia but it is really not.

"They have some great players, they have players who play in the Champions League so it is hard, as is every single game.

"Once we put on that jersey we play for pride, ourselves and our families and we give 100 per cent no matter what, and you can't say the lads lacked effort, that is for sure."

Despite the negativity swirling around the national team Brown stressed his desire to get back.

The former Hibernian player is first looking to return for the champions at McDiarmid Park but failing that, he hopes to feature in the Hoops' opening Champions League clash against Benfica at Celtic Park next week.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has mentioned the possibility of an operation for Brown but he said: "Hopefully not, we will see how it is for the next couple of weeks. Just a few days off here and there and I should be fine.

"I spoke to Craig before the (Scotland) game and told him how the situation was and he was fine.

"Hopefully I will be back for the next double header. It all depends how I go up until then, with training and in games as well.

"If I can manage to play games and get through training no bother, then hopefully I will be selected.

"I definitely want to get back in. It's great to play for your country.

"I have had two weeks off resting and I will see if I can play on Saturday, if not, next Wednesday.

"There is a bit of wear and tear and some inflammation as well so I have to sit out here and there in training.

"It all started at the end of last season when I got my hernia operation. It's just nipping here and there but it seems to be a lot better these days."

Brown gave a flippant response when asked to assess Celtic's chances of getting out of a Champions League group which also includes Barcelona and Spartak Moscow.

"Easy," he said. "It should be a six-pointer against Barcelona as well. So it should be guaranteed I think."

The midfielder admitted the Celtic players have been buoyant since knocking Helsingborg out of the play-offs.

"It has been four years since I played in the Champions League and a lot of the lads came to Celtic expecting and hoping to play in the Champions League and now they are, everyone is looking forward to it," he said.

"It is a happier place, everyone is bouncing about and looking forward to the games.

"Benfica are going to be good on the ball but we need to try to win our home games, that's the first thing, and see what we can get in the three away games."

PA

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