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NO MORE X-CERTIFICATE SHOWS: BROWN’S EURO VOW

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SKIPPER Scott Brown insists Celtic are no longer sitting ducks in Europe.

The Hoops have gone through hell on their travels, including two seven-goal maulings from Barcelona at the Nou Camp and a 7-1 thrashing from Paris Saint-Germain in the French capital.

There have been some embarrassing underwhelming performances from the eight-in-a-row champions on their European misadventures.

However, the team’s 34-year-old midfield dynamo hopes these x-certificate scorelines are in the past – and the onfield leader wants to emphasise that point again this evening in the Europa League last-32 encounter against FC Copenhagen at the Parken Stadium.

Neil Lennon’s side have lost just once in seven away ties this season and that was the 2-0 loss to Cluj in Romania when top spot in Group E was already assured.

Brown, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “We’ve done well away from home in the Europa League, which hasn’t happened a lot in the past. Hopefully, that will continue.

“We’ve been working on it. We’ve always looked at our own form, especially when teams are coming to Celtic Park and you’re trying to get nine points from the home games.

ACTION MAN…Scott Brown has a shot blocked by Rangers defender Filip Wilander in the Betfred League Cup Final triumph.

“If you go away from home and get a point here or there it’s a bonus. We set up very well and try to catch teams on the counter-attack with the pace we’ve got in the team.

“I think we defend that bit more as a team and sit a little bit deeper than we maybe would in the SPFL. But we want to come here and play football, try to dominate the ball and depending what formation we play we’ll work on that.

“When we were in Dubai we worked on different formations, different styles.

“The manager and his staff are huge on us trying to keep as many clean sheets as we can, so I think it’s all just coming together. If you’re not conceding a lot of goals away from home you get that belief that you can sneak a 1-0 to take back home under the lights at Celtic Park.

“At the start of the season when we were in the Champions League we wanted European football after Christmas, we just keep pushing for as long as we can.

“Copenhagen is going to be difficult. It’ll be physical, but for us it’s about how we play. We might chop and change between formations, but whoever plays we’d fancy someone to put the ball in the back of the net.”

Remarkably, the Hoops have not won a knock-out game in SIXTEEN years and this time last season they lost home and away to Valencia to exit the competition on a dismal 3-0 aggregate loss.

THE ITALIAN JOB…Scott Brown and team-mates Christopher Jullien and Kristoffer Ajer query the Croatian referee’s decison in the 2-1 win over Lazio in Glasgow.

However, the players are in a positive frame of mind these days and the former Scotland international captain added: “The manager always talks about going to Seville and what a great occasion it was.

“I’m not saying we’re going to get to a Final, but to get through this tie would be a huge step for this bunch of lads and a new manager coming in for his first season back, as well.

“If we get a good result we’ll always fancy our chances no matter who it’s against because we’ve proved that in the past. It’s the away form we need to tick off first.

“There’s pressure on us to win every game. I’ve just looked at the pitch and it’s brand new, so, hopefully, it will play well.

“People fancy us to win home and away, no matter what. Our fans expect us to dominate the game and win whether it’s the Premiership or Europe and here’s hoping we can do that.

“We’ll try to get a good result, a solid performance, get back to Celtic Park and take it from there. It would be huge to get an away goal and keep a clean sheet, but we’ll need to work hard to do that.”

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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