JOHN Collins today predicted that Celtic skipper Scott Brown can continue to dominate Glasgow derbies for years to come - after calling time on his Scotland career.

Parkhead great Collins watched every minute of the Ladbrokes Premiership match at Ibrox on Sunday afternoon and marvelled at the display of Brown in midfield.

The 32-year-old bossed an encounter which Brendan Rodgers’s side, who have a game in hand, won 3-2 to forge nine points clear of Graeme Murty’s team at the head of the top flight table.

The highlight came just before half-time when he set up Moussa Dembele for an equaliser – which he celebrated by “doing the Broonie” directly in front of the home support in the main stand - with a 50 yard upfield pass.

The result means the defending Scottish champions, who are chasing their second consecutive domestic treble, are now almost certain to win the title for the seventh successive season.

Collins, who worked with Brown at Celtic during the two years that he spent as assistant to Ronny Deila, feels the player is more than capable of maintaining that level of performance in the fixture going forward now he has retired from international football.

The former Hibs, Celtic, AS Monaco and Everton midfielder won 58 caps for his country between 1988 and 1999 and was involved in both the Euro 1996 and France ’98 finals.

Yet, he produced some of the best football of his distinguished playing days when he chose to concentrate on club football following the 1-0 win over England at Wembley in the second leg of the Euro 2000 play-off.

He helped Fulham romp to the English Championship and secure promotion to the Premier League in the 2000/01 campaign and then played on in the top flight down south for another two seasons before retiring.

Collins reckons Brown, who told new Scotland manager Alex McLeish he no longer wishes to be considered for selection last month, can benefit for making the same decision and maintain the high standards he is currently setting.

“I just felt it was getting hard for me to play international football and club football,” he said. “My legs were starting to go a little bit. I personally felt it was the right time for me to go.

“I was playing in the Premier League down south, a highly competitive league, with Everton. I decided my legs were blown, were not quite as powerful as before.

“I had enjoyed a long international career and had been to World Cups and European Championships. I felt it was time for the younger generation to come through.

“Midfield is a demanding position to play. I thought it was the right time for myself to stand aside and the younger ones to take their opportunity."

Collins added: “I had an enjoyable end to my career after that. I helped Fulham get promoted from the Championship to the Premiership.

“Scott has been a great servant for Scotland and for Celtic for a long, long time. But it is tough to play for both club and country in midfield when you get to 32 or 33. You are all over the pitch. It becomes hard.”

Collins, who works as a pundit at Champions League and Europa League matches for beIN Sports, feels that Brown is more than capable of continuing to represent Celtic, both domestically and in Europe, well into his fourth decade.

“Playing for Celtic, who are dominating games and winning every week domestically and enjoying 75 per cent possession, is certainly doable for Scott,” he said.

“I enjoyed playing for Fulham in the Championship after I retired from international football because we were a possession based team and controlled games from start to finish.

“When Fulham went up to the Premier League that wasn’t the case because we were up against the big boys and had to do a lot of running without the ball.

“It doesn’t happen at international level either and certainly not with Scotland. That is why it would have been difficult for him to continue.”

Collins, who helped Celtic lift the Scottish Cup in 1995 and Monaco win the Ligue 1 in 1997, was renowned for his dedication to his profession and high levels of physical fitness as well as his outstanding technical ability.

That is a trait that Brown, who moved to Parkhead in a £4.4 million transfer from Hibernian back in 2007 and is in his testimonial season with the Glasgow giants, shares with his former coach.

The 50-year-old believes that will ensure that he carries on being an indispensable on-field leader for Rodgers’s team for some time to come.

“I watched every minute of the game on Sunday,” he said. “It was just a typical Scott Brown performance. He kept it simple and very rarely gave the ball away. He took the ball from the Celtic defenders and gave it to the wingers and No.10 ahead of him.

“Who knows what retiring from Scotland will do for Scott Brown? Every player is different. Every situation has got to be taken on its own merits. He has to take it six months by six months. You never know what’s around the corner with injuries at that age and at that stage in your career.

“But he is playing for a football team that is controlling games and enjoying 75 per cent possession. That is a lot easier for him than playing for a team that just gets 30 per cent possession.

“He’s a good trainer. Every manager he’s ever had will tell you that. He goes on the training pitch and works hard every day. That’s why he’s stayed at the top for a long time, by working hard and training properly. He can go on for another three years at least if he stays injury free.”