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Jason Denayer is aiming for European run with Celtic

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Celtic's Jason Denayer celebrates scoring his sides first goal of the game with team-mates during the Scottish Premiership match at Celtic Park, Glasgow

Celtic's Jason Denayer celebrates scoring his sides first goal of the game with team-mates during the Scottish Premiership match at Celtic Park, Glasgow

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Celtic's Jason Denayer (obscured left) scores his goal during the Scottish Premiership match at Celtic Park, Glasgow

Celtic's Jason Denayer (obscured left) scores his goal during the Scottish Premiership match at Celtic Park, Glasgow

PA

Celtic's Scott Brown (left) and Aberdeen David Goodwillie during the Scottish Premiership match at Celtic Park, Glasgow

Celtic's Scott Brown (left) and Aberdeen David Goodwillie during the Scottish Premiership match at Celtic Park, Glasgow

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Celtic's Scott Brown (left) and Aberdeen's Andrew Considine battle for the ball during the Scottish Premiership match at Celtic Park, Glasgow

Celtic's Scott Brown (left) and Aberdeen's Andrew Considine battle for the ball during the Scottish Premiership match at Celtic Park, Glasgow

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Celtic's Jason Denayer celebrates scoring his sides first goal of the game with team-mates during the Scottish Premiership match at Celtic Park, Glasgow

JAMES FORREST is at least a month away from a return for Celtic because of the hamstring injury he sustained in the 6-1 drubbing of Dundee United.

Manager Ronny Deila had previously hoped to have Forrest available for the start of Celtic's Europa League group campaign, which opens against Salzburg in Austria on Thursday.

Celtic will also be without Charlie Mulgrew, who may need an operation on the knee he injured while playing in Scotland's 2-1 Euro 2016 qualifying defeat by Germany in Dortmund last week, but Deila was able to welcome Scott Brown back on Saturday.

Brown played for an hour of the victory against Aberdeen, in which Jason Denayer and Kris Commons scored for Celtic, while David Goodwillie netted his first for the Dons since moving from Blackpool during the summer.

Deila declared that it was "fantastic" to have Brown back, having previously said that it would be the equivalent of having a new player in the team.

There were starting debuts on Saturday for Aleksandr Tonev and Stefan Scepovic, while John Guidetti - on loan from Manchester City - made his first appearance as a substitute but, with Salzburg in mind, Deila might also consider Denayer a fresh force too. The Belgian defender played in the 1-1 draw with Maribor in the first leg of Celtic's Champions League play-off but was left out of the return, which ended in a 1-0 defeat that consigned the Parkhead side to the Europa League.

"The coach told me before the Maribor game that he was going to put some extra experience in the team. I know I don't have experience like the other defenders here and I sat on the bench and hoped to go on but it didn't happen," Denayer said. "Now I leave the past behind me and move forward.

"Everyone is disappointed about not getting into the Champions League, because all the supporters and all of the players wanted to be there but we can't focus on the past and say, 'that's bad'. We must concentrate on the Europa League and do all we can do in that competition. It all depends on us. If we play as we can, if we play to 100pc of our ability, we can go to the final. Celtic is a big club with high expectations."

In a Low Countries partnership, Denayer is paired with Virgil van Dijk, who was called up to the Dutch squad for the Euro 2016 qualifiers against Italy and the Czech Republic. "I feel very good playing alongside Virgil," Denayer said. "He speaks to me a lot. He is very calm. When he speaks, it is not aggressively. It is better to speak calmly, we understand each other better that way.

"Virgil can play at the highest level. I'm very happy he stayed at the club during the window. I hope that playing for Celtic can get me into the Belgian squad and if I can play regularly for Celtic in the Europa League, that will help me with that objective. But my first aim is to be good for Celtic.

"Virgil is in the Dutch squad now as a Celtic player, so it can be done but Virgil and I are different.

"He is more experienced. I don't want to go too quickly. If I can get into the squad, good.

"If not, I will work hard and hopefully get in later." (©Daily Telegraph, London)

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