Scottish Football - Kayal wants dynamic duo back

Celtic midfielder Beram Kayal hopes to have Scott Brown and Kris Commons back in the team for next month's Champions League meeting with Ajax - insisting the duo can help fire the Hoops towards the last 16.

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Scottish Football - Kayal wants dynamic duo back
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Celtic's Virgil van Dijk (L) and Mikael Lustig (R) congratulate Beram Kayal on his goal against Ajax during their Champions League soccer match at Celtic Park Stadium, Scotland October 22, 2013 (Reuters)

Israel international Kayal stood in for suspended skipper Brown in Tuesday night's 2-1 win over the Dutch champions after the Scotland midfielder was handed a three-match ban by UEFA for kicking out at Barcelona star Neymar earlier this month.

Parkhead boss Neil Lennon has not given up hope of having that punishment reduced and has lodged an appeal with Europe's governing body.

And Kayal believes having both the club captain and Commons - who watched the Ajax victory from the Celtic Park stands after sustaining a hamstring injury in Saturday's win at Hibernian - back in their ranks will give their hopes of escaping Group H a huge boost.

He said: "We missed Scott and Kris. Brown is a great captain and Commons is magic.

"They are great players and we want them back for the next few games. We need the squad to be strong and hopefully we can go to Ajax and win there."

James Forrest's penalty in first-half stoppage time put Celtic ahead against Frank de Boer's Amsterdam outfit before Kayal slotted home a second eight minutes into the second half with the help of a deflection.

The victory was the Hoops' first of this year's campaign following opening defeats to AC Milan and Barcelona and gives the Glasgow giants renewed hope of emulating last year's run to the knockout stages.

"I'm so happy we have got the three points at last," said Kayal. "In the first two games, we played well against Barcelona and AC Milan, but now we have won the three points and that was important for us if we are to qualify from this group.

"We are just looking step-by-step but it now gives us a good chance."

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