IT'S deja vu for Scott Brown as the Celtic skipper once again faces the prospect of going under the knife.

That's a huge concern not only for Neil Lennon, but also for Scotland boss, Gordon Strachan who wants the battling midfielder to lead the national side into their World Cup qualifiers against Wales and Serbia next month.

Despite a long-term problem with a hip condition, Brown has managed to steer clear of the operating theatre throughout this troubled season.

Undergoing surgery again – his wrist and ankle were previously operated on – appeared inevitable back in the autumn when he got as far as booking in with a specialist in London.

But Brown has bravely battled on, and looked to be back to his free- moving best.

However, he is now suffering from an adductor muscle injury, and his groin will be examined by a specialist to see if an operation is required.

Celtic expect to find out within days if Brown must finally succumb to the knife, and Lennon is bracing himself for bad news.

The manager said: "Scott will be seeing a specialist regarding his adductor, and we are awaiting the outcome of that.

"It's a different injury, but we'll now look at Scott, and the whole issue of what he had before. He may require surgery. We are not sure yet. We will see what the specialist's opinion is.

"It may be this procedure needs doing now. Hopefully, that will not be the case."

The 43 tough games Celtic have played this season across four competitions are taking their toll, and Mikael Lustig, Rami Gershon and Georgios Samaras are still out for tonight's game against St Johnstone.

But Lennon has a very strong squad to choose from, including the coveted Efe Ambrose, who only arrived in a £1.2million deal from Israel in August.

The manager said: "It's not just in England, there's a lot of interest in Efe from the Continent as well.

"I don't think we will lose him in the summer. He's just in the door and there is a bit more that he can add to his game.

"But he does have a few admirers out there with his performances this season.

"There is nothing concrete, but there is definite interest from top teams.

"I think he has brought the best out in Kelvin, Wilson, who has been magnificent this season.

"Roy Hodgson was very complimentary about him after the game against Juventus."

That's a tie which still rankles with Lennon, who is dismissive of reports Uefa are "irked" at Celtic's request for clarification on the referee's performance.

"There are no direct quotes from Uefa, so I will totally disregard that story," said Lennon.

Lennon plans to speak to SFA ref chief John Fleming on the matter, while also asking him for an explanation why Bobby Madden gave a penalty at the weekend for what TV showed was a clean challenge by Adam Matthews on Gary Mackay-Steven.