Scott Brown hasn’t started any of Celtic’s last five Scottish Premiership fixtures – so will Brendan Rodgers reinstate him in the starting XI?

Brendan Rodgers probably never expected to have a decision on his hands about whether to reinstate Scott Brown into Celtic’s starting XI.

The Hoops skipper has been a virtual ever present since Rodgers took over at Parkhead in 2016 but has missed four of the last five Scottish Premiership games with injury.

But rather than fall apart in the absence of their influential captain, Celtic have thrived, scoring 20 goals in the last four games that Brown has not started before stuttering to a goalless draw with a typically organised Livingston side on Sunday.

Scott Brown and an emotional Celtic farewell

As a result, some have questioned whether the 33-year-old should return to the starting XI, particularly with Callum McGregor starring in a deeper role of late.

But John Hartson believes the decision is something of a no-brainer.

“Ryan Christie has been superb, Callum McGregor (below) in that role that Brown plays has been outstanding and we have seen Scott Sinclair look a bit more like himself. James Forrest has been on fire and Tom Rogic is a guy you expect to do something special whenever he is on the pitch,” the former Celtic striker told the Evening Times.

“But Brown has earned the right to go straight back into the team. He deserves to come straight back in as he drives Celtic forward but what I would also say is that Brendan has a decision on his hands now on who he leaves out.

“He has been magnificent.”

Brown’s long-term future at Celtic remains up in the air for now with his contract due to expire at the end of this season.

The Mail reported that Western Melbourne, who are hoping to be added to the A-League in 2019, want to make the former Scotland captain their marquee signing.

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