SCOTT BROWN has emphasised the importance of 32-goal Moussa Dembele to Celtic.

And the Hoops skipper is optimistic the club can hold on to the French Under-21 striker – at least until the January transfer window.

Dembele, who is currently sidelined with a recurrence of the hamstring injury he sustained at the end of last season, was caught up in all sorts of transfer speculation throughout the summer.

However, Brown is hopeful the powerful frontman, who agreed a four-year deal 13 months ago when he arrived on a £500,000 Development Fee from Fulham, will remain at the champions.

He said: “We want him to be at the club for as long as possible.

“Moussa has got strength and different sort of qualities. When he played in Champions League matches, he scored and created chances. His hold-up play was fantastic.

“Yet again, we’ve got Leigh Griffiths there and he scored 40 goals the season before. He didn’t have as many games last season, but still scored a fair amount of goals.”

The Scotland international frontman hit 18 goals from only 21 starts to highlight his ability.

Celtic struggled without the 50-goal threat from Dembele and Griffiths in last week’s scoreless stalemate against Rosenborg and the attacker could be missing again for tomorrow night’s second leg.

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