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Brown: Celtic can conjure magic on artificial pitch

By Ronnie Esplin

Celtic captain Scott Brown admits Elfsborg's artificial pitch could prove a challenge – but he is confident they can handle it with their improving European away form.

Celtic are in Sweden defending a 1-0 lead in the third qualifying round of the Champions League tomorrow. Kris Commons' late header put them in the driving seat and Brown believes they can take encouragement from last season's run to the last 16 of the Champions League.

Brown said: "It's going to be hard, it's on astroturf. We have been training on astroturf for a few days trying to get our heads around it. We won't know what kind it is until we get there. But we are not worried. We have had a lot of games on it in the last few seasons and are getting quite used to it."

Neil Lennon's men cruised to a 3-0 win on Cliftonville's artificial surface last month and in the Luzhniki Stadium last season Celtic broke their unwanted record of never having won an away match in the Champions League proper with a 3-2 win over Spartak Moscow.

"It was huge," Brown said. "I think it was hanging over everyone's head at Celtic."

Meanwhile, Celtic are closing off the section of their stadium that houses the Green Brigade fans group. Celtic say their "sole motivation" is safety after warning fans over several issues last week in the wake of a Uefa disciplinary charge over the use of fireworks at their Champions League clash with Cliftonville.

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