Brown faces derby blues after run of yellows

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The Independent Football

The Celtic manager, Gordon Strachan, has said Scott Brown is not guaranteed a recall for Sunday's Old Firm game against Rangers despite the £4.4m midfielder being free from suspension.

Brown has served a three-match ban and is available once again to Strachan, but the team's victories in each of the games he has missed could count against the former Hibernian player, and he may only make the bench. In Brown's absence, the former Dundee United captain Barry Robson has slotted into the centre of midfield and helped Celtic to victories over Motherwell, Rangers and Aberdeen.

"Scott is back and that gives me a dilemma. If you don't win the three games, the decision is a bit easier, but we did win the games," Strachan said. The manager hopes Brown regrets the run of yellow cards that led to his ban.

"It was a self-inflicted wound for Scott," he said. "It's like being in the army in the 1950s. If you got sunburnt in the army, they put you in prison for two weeks. It's been self-inflicted wounds and he'll learn from that."

Strachan will certainly find a place for Aiden McGeady when he picks his side to face Rangers, after the winger tormented Walter Smith's side in Celtic's 2-1 win at Parkhead on 16 April. The new PFA Scotland player of the year has been in inspired form this season, moving him well ahead of the likes of Derek Riordan, his one-time rival for a place on the left flank, in Strachan's plans.

Strachan believes there are players who could learn from McGeady's dedication to self-improvement. "Aiden has gone to a different level," he said. "There are a number of reasons, but he's listened and that's a great thing. He's worked on his shape and there are other people with similar ability in the game, who don't work hard enough. They think that ability is enough, but it's not."

The former Celtic forward Joe Miller, meanwhile, believes the scuffle that followed last week's Old Firm match was a positive sign for both managers.

Scotland team-mates Gary Caldwell and David Weir were handed one-match bans after referee Kenny Clark reported them for violent conduct following the on-field spat. Two more key men from the international set-up, opposing captains Stephen McManus and Barry Ferguson, had to be separated by team-mates as tempers flared.

But Miller, who made more than 150 appearances for Celtic, said: "I think at the end of last week's game there were a lot of negatives put out about it. But it's something as a player I like to see, and I'm sure the managers agree because it shows the players care about things, whether it's handbags at dawn after the game."