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Scott Brown to face hero Andrea Pirlo as Celtic land tough Juventus test

By Gavin McCafferty

Celtic midfielder Scott Brown admits he will face a formidable opponent when he lines up against Andrea Pirlo in the Champions League but he will not stand back and admire the Juventus midfielder.

The Scotland international has faced Pirlo on international duty and for Celtic against Milan, and they will meet again when Juve visit Celtic Park in the first leg of the last 16.

Last season, the 33-year-old Pirlo inspired the Turin side to their first Serie A title since their demotion following a match-fixing scandal. Pirlo then shone at Euro 2012 as Italy reached the final in impressive fashion before coming unstuck against Spain.

Brown said: "In my position he's probably the one that I would say I would most like to be, but it's going to be me against him and I want to be coming out the winner at the end of that. It's been good playing against him and I learned a lot.

"He's their main player week in week out. He's the one that makes them tick. He's the one that threads the through balls and gets on the ball to start off the moves. He's the one that we are going to really have to watch out for."

Brown and Georgios Samaras are the only members of the Celtic squad to have played when the club last reached the knockout stages, before losing to Barcelona five seasons ago. But Brown believes his current team-mates, having beaten Barça in the group stages, can go one better.

"It's huge," he said. "Some people never make this. I have been lucky enough to do it twice. The first time was great, we played Barcelona and were unlucky. Now I think this team is better than what we had before.

"We know it is going to be hard, but we have played really well at Celtic Park and hopefully teams fear coming to Celtic Park now," Brown added.

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