Date: 8th August 2012 at 7:26am
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Neil Lennon will make a last minute decision on the fitness of Scott Brown before naming his side to face HJK Helsinki tonight.

The midfielder hasn’t trained fully for a week after feeling the strain of the 2-1 win over the Finnish champions.

Brown has suffered ankle and foot injuries over the last three seasons but his ability and commitment aren’t in any doubt.

Lennon’s trust in the former Hibs midfielder is 100% with the hoops boss hopeful that his skipper will lead the line in tonight’s Champions League qualifier.

“Scott was very sore after the game last Wednesday and that’s not like him, to be fair,” Lennon revealed.

“He came in on Friday and did the warm-up, but then decided he couldn’t train. When Scott tells me that I know he’s in a lot of pain and discomfort.

“I’m hoping he’ll be okay for this game but we’ll just need to manage him. He had a hernia operation in June and came back okay, but this is a different sort of injury.

“He has had the scan and there is degeneration there, but it’s not on a scale where we have to shut him down.

“He doesn’t need surgery at the minute but maybe over a period of time he may do. I’m not a physio and I’m not a doctor so I can’t really say that’s going to be the case, but at the minute we’ll manage him week to week.

“He may have to play some games and miss others, and we’ll need to watch him in training as well to make sure he gets the proper rest between games so he doesn’t overdo it.”

Lennon added: “He put in a phenomenal performance against Helsinki in the first-leg and the physical stats on him alone were something I’d never seen before — over 13kilometres.

“He covered so much ground and the intensity that he worked at was a very high standard.

“He’s not just jogging at that pace either, at times he’s going flat out for a kilometre or so.

“He really is an incredible athlete but at the minute is just feeling it a bit with wear and tear.

“Added to that he’s a big influence on and off the field. He has been a very consistent player for us now throughout my tenure as manager. He’s a big-game player but right now we need to manage him, while he needs to be a bit more sensible himself in terms of cutting down his work.

“He doesn’t really need to do the physical side of training because he’s a natural athlete anyway — one of the best I’ve seen in the game, certainly at Celtic.

“He always wants to train, be out there and set a good example, but maybe just at the minute, for the short-term, he needs to tone that down a little bit.

“We’ll talk to him about it as well as Tim the physio and hope that there is an improvement along the way but for this game we’ll see how he is a few hours before kick-off.”

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