SCOTLAND will miss Scott Brown, their first choice central midfielder and captain who has announced his retirement from international football, in their forthcoming UEFA Nations League matches and Euro 2020 qualifying campaign.

As was evident once again on Sunday when he led Celtic to an important Ladbrokes Premiership win against Aberdeen at Pittodrie, he has not mellowed much, if at all, with age.

The 32-year-old midfielder was his usual snarling, physical, combative, antagonistic self in a full-blooded encounter.

His reaction after he was the victim to an appalling foul by Aberdeen substitute Sam Cos-grove – he leapt straight to his feet, pumped his chest out, flexed his muscles and grinned from ear to ear - was classic “Broony”.

What would Alex McLeish, confirmed as the new national team manager last week, give to be able to call on this remarkable character’s services in the seasons ahead?

It would help his chances of winning around the Tartan Army, many of whom need to be convinced he was the right man to replace Gordon Strachan, no end if he could field the man he handed his competitive Scotland debut to during his first spell in charge

But this decision is unquestionably the right one - for Brown, for Celtic and for Scotland.

The 45-times capped player has made 45 appearances for both his club, in the Champions League, Premiership, Betfred Cup and William Hill Scottish Cup, and his country, in their ill-fated Russia 2018 qualifying campaign, this term and it is still on February.

The demands which have been made on him during the 2017/18 campaign would be excessive for a young player. But for somebody of his age they are dangerous. He risked suffering a serious injury and being forced to retire prematurely if he continued.

Brown only knows one way to play - without compromise or concern for his own physical wellbeing.

It is why every manager he has worked under, Walter Smith, Gordon Strachan, Neil Lennon and Brendan Rodgers among them, has admired and valued him so much.

His all-action style and punishing schedule took its toll on him two seasons ago when he looked a shadow of his former self. His displays were lacking in their usual authority and energy. The Scottish Cup semi-final defeat to Rangers was a real low for him personally. He normally thrives in the intensity of the Glasgow derby. That day he was posted missing.

But a complete break from the game that summer, the first of his professional career, and the arrival of Rodgers as manager, transformed him. He acquitted himself consistently well as the Parkhead club won their fourth domestic treble last season.

He came out of international retirement in October 2016 – little over two months after calling it a day – in a bid to help Scotland reach Russia 2018 and his mentor Strachan avoid the sack.

But continuing to play for Celtic and Scotland was unsustainable. By choosing to concentrate on his club career he can extend a distinguished career further still.

This development also allows McLeish, who isn’t exactly short of quality options in central midfield, to build for the inaugural Nations League in the friendlies against Costa Rica and Hungary next month and the tour of Peru and Mexico in the summer.

The 2-0 win over Malta at Hampden back in September was not how Scott Brown, who, like every other Scotland player of his generation, didn’t compete in a World Cup or European Championship finals, would have liked to have bowed out from international football.

But he can reflect on his time in the dark blue or his country with justifiable pride – and look forward to a promising future with his club.