Brown close to return

Celtic skipper was left out of 1-0 over Aberdeen at the weekend

Scott Brown: The midfielder will face a late fitness test ahead of their Champions League third qualifier against HJK Helsinki on Wednesday

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Scott Brown is winning his race to be fit in time for Celtic's crunch Champions League game in Finland on Wednesday according to assistant manager Johan Mjallby.

The Scottish champions go into the second leg of their Champions League third round qualifier against HJK Helsinki with a 2-1 lead.

Second-half goals from Kris Commons and Charlie Mulgrew cancelled out Rasmus Schuller's opener to give them a slender advantage to defend.

Brown has travelled with the squad along with fellow injury doubt James Forrest who joined the Celtic skipper on the bench for the opening game of the SPL season against Aberdeen at the weekend.

And Mjallby is confident the talismanic 27-year-old will pass a late fitness test and be ready to lead Celtic into the next round.

"Everyone is travelling except for Mo Bangura who has a thigh strain," said Mjallby. "We have to assess a few of the boys after training tonight.

"Brown and Forrest missed out on the game at the weekend but we are delighted they are with us now.

"Obviously the physios and the doctors will do their best to make sure they are available for selection.

"The Scott I know, I think the chances of playing are quite good - very good."

A win would take Celtic through to the play-off round and two games away from the group stages with the continent's elite.

And with no Rangers in Scotland's top flight, Celtic are expected to defend their title with ease so the later rounds of the Champions League should provide some much sterner tests this season as well as excitement for the fans.

"We are leading 2-1 and yes, we are playing away from home but I don't see any reason why we can't go over there and win," added Mjallby.

"But we need to be solid, we can't make the same mistake we did a week ago when we conceded a goal on the counter-attack.

"I think Helsinki will need to go forward more than they did at Celtic Park which hopefully means there will be more space for our attacking players."