herald

Monday 11 December 2017

Brown not fazed by plastic pitch

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 travel to Sweden today defending a 1-0 lead in the third qualifying round of the Champions League ahead of tomorrow's game.

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 astro turf. We have been training on astro turf 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."

One of their games on artificial turf was in the Luzhniki Stadium last season when Celtic finally 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, the players and supporters as well. We seemed to think we were never going to get there.

"This is a club who can go away from home now and get a good result. We won a few qualifiers away from home as well."

Celtic have announced they are closing off the section of their stadium that houses the Green Brigade fans group.

Celtic say their "sole motivation" is safety but the supporters had earlier issued a statement describing the club's actions as "pathetic" and revealing they were seeking legal advice.

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