MIKEY Johnston has admitted his Celtic team need to win back a section of their support after coming in for the harshest fan criticism in years.

Following on from last week's shock Champions League exit to Cluj, Celtic needed extra-time to beat Championship Dunfermline in the Betfred Cup inside a half empty Parkhead which witnessed protests from the Green Brigade about the board's transfer strategy.

Johnston scored in Saturday's eventual 2-1 win and is aware that the European setback badly hurt the fans, and that means the demand for the team to get past AIK Stockholm and reach the Europa League group stage, the Swedish champions are in Glasgow this Thursday for the first-leg of the play-off, is higher than ever.

The 20-year-old said: "Europe is massive to the fans and we want to try and get a run there to get them back on-side.

Everybody has to find it within themselves. We are playing in a massive game for a massive club. We all have to be up for it.

“We are a winning club and not getting into the Champions League is big blow for the fans. It would be good to get a good result to take over to Sweden.

“We have done well this season apart from one bad result. There have been plenty positives to take from the other games.

“But getting knocked out of Europe is always going to overshadow what has gone before.”

Neil Lennon will this week sign Rosenborg full-back Birger Meling, a 24-year-old Norwegian international who has face Celtic several times over the past three seasons.

Jonathan Afolabi, a 19-year-olf striker who was at Southampton, agreed a two-year deal on Saturday. Neither will face AIK.

And Celtic could be in for another transfer windfall after Juventus stepped up their interest in former striker Moussa Dembele.

The Italian champions sent scouts to watch Dembele score a double in Lyon's 6-0 win over Angers on Friday, which took his tally to 28 goals in just 35 appearances for his French club.

Juventus have finally given up their attempts to sign Inter Milan ace Mauro Icardi and have turned their attentions to Dembele, who cannot now sign for admirers Manchester United and Arsenal because the English transfer window is closed.

And that's certain to be of huge interest to Celtic, who are due a chunky sell-on fee for Dembele, who is now valued at up to £40 million.

Dembele moved to Lyon in a £20 million deal last year and has been an outstanding success in Ligue 1.

Earlier this summer, both Dembele himself and Lyon's president insisted he would see out the season in France, where Lyon are trying to wrestle the title away from PSG.

But cash-rich Juventus, who have already spent £165 million this summer, could make Lyon and Dembele an offer they can't refuse before the end of the Italian transfer window on September 2.