BRENDAN Rodgers has described captain Scott Brown's international retirement as a "real, real sensible decision".

The 32-year-old midfielder this morning called time on his Scotland career for a second time, having won 55 caps across two spells.

"I think he means it this time," Rodgers said of Brown, who reversed his initial decision to retire in August 2016 to help out then national manager Gordon Strachan, his former manager at Parkhead.

"It is obviously great news for Celtic and sad for the Scottish team.

"I think the last time he went back it was probably for Gordon, to help someone he was very close to.

"But for him and his career going forward, he wants to prolong career at club level and, with the amount of games we have at club level, taking away international football, it is a real, real sensible decision."

Brown informed new Scotland manager Alex McLeish of his decision over the weekend and told Celtic's website: "I wasn't able to give both my club and country my best and I needed to focus purely on Celtic at this time."

Rangers manager Graeme Murty has thanked Brown for his contribution to Scotland.

Murty – who represented Scotland four times himself, but never alongside Brown despite their stints in the international set-up overlapping – believes Brown's decision leaves McLeish with a major hole to fill.

And he has challenged young Rangers players such as Ryan Jack, Greg Docherty and Ross McCrorie to prove they can step into the boots of their Parkhead foe.

Murty, speaking ahead of tomorrow night's trip to St Johnstone, said: "He [Brown] has been a really, really good servant. He's taken fantastic care of his body and I think you see that the impact he has on his team is very, very big.

"It's now up to someone else to go and fill the hole that he will leave.

"It's an opportunity – possibly for some of our players – to go and make that midfield role their own.

"So as a Scotland fan I would thank him for his work but there is an opportunity to move forward now with a group of players that are working with a new manager to try to stake a claim and play in his team."