sport

Brown surgery put on hold

Celtic captain Scott Brown is in contention to face Inverness on Saturday but is still likely to face surgery after the Spartak Moscow game.

Neil Lennon stated on Tuesday that Brown looked like needing an operation on his ongoing hip problem after failing to last 90 minutes in the 2-1 defeat against Benfica.

But the Celtic manager later discovered the midfielder had gone off with cramp in his legs.

Lennon will now look to keep his skipper going until the Champions League group decider against Spartak Moscow on December 5, before referring him to a consultant.

Lennon said: "Scott Brown is in contention to play tomorrow remarkably. We will refer him after Moscow and see how he is.

"The problem is we don't have the time to let him settle down.

"Looking at the condition, it normally requires surgery.

"The problem on Tuesday night was he was just out of condition a bit because he has not been training.

"He has trained in the last couple of days and we are doing some physical work and see what reaction we get."

Lennon revealed it would be an eight-week rehabilitation process once Brown goes under the knife.

"So he would miss maybe the majority of December and January and have him back in February, but we do have a two-week winter break in January," he added.

Celtic's medical team will try to balance Brown's need to both rest his hip and maintain his sharpness ahead of the Spartak clash.

"It's not hampering when he plays, it's just the reaction he gets after games where he is in a lot of discomfort for two or three days, and it seems to fluctuate from game to game.

"If I could get a Brown who played in the first three games of the (Champions League) competition then I would be delighted with that. That's what we are going to aim for.

"We have known going into some games that he couldn't last the 90 minutes but we have taken that chance because he is such an important player.

"But obviously we would like him feeling completely free going into these games and that's why we are upping his condition work a bit to see if we can get him peaking for the Moscow game if we can."

Lennon added: "We are not making the condition any worse, the only problem is it's not getting any better. The medical team feel surgery will fix the problem, and when we do it is coming closer."

While Brown could make the Scottish Premier League clash with Inverness, Lennon faces a problem at centre-back on Saturday with Thomas Rogne's attempted comeback from a calf problem complicated by a virus.

Kelvin Wilson is also a doubt with flu while James Forrest (hamstring) is out and Joe Ledley (groin) is a doubt.

Meanwhile, Lennon plans talks with United States international Juan Agudelo after being impressed with the 20-year-old striker in training.

The Chivas USA striker, who has won 16 caps, has been utilising the Major League Soccer close season to train with Celtic as he looks to realise his ambition of playing in Europe.

Lennon said: "He has looked very good, we have been very impressed with him.

"We are hoping he will stay around for a few more days and we can talk with his representatives.

"I haven't had the chance to sit down with everyone and discuss it but myself and my backroom team have been very impressed."

Another trialist arrived at Lennoxtown on Friday - 19-year-old left winger Frank Acheampong, who has one cap for Ghana and has been playing in Thailand.