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Dan Keatings falls short but still has European team final to look forward to

SCOTLAND'S Dan Keatings was left with mixed feelings last night after helping Great Britain reach the team final of the European Championships in first position while failing to qualify for any individual finals.

The 2008 Olympian and Glasgow Commonwealth Games hopeful scored a superb 15.266 points on the parallel bars but was disappointed with his score of 14.633 on the pommel horse in Sofia and tweeted last night: "Not the best comp from me no falls just silly mistakes so no individual finals but looking forward to team final."

Keatings put a brave face on his own difficulties as the five-man team basked in their collective supremacy. Double Olympic bronze medallist Max Whitlock posted the best floor and pommel horse scores.

The five-strong team of Whitlock, Sam Oldham, Kristian Thomas, Keatings and fellow Scot Dan Purvis posted a score of 267.076 points to finish above Russia (264.304) and third placed Ukraine (261.277) as they aim to defend their title from 2012.

Last year the European Championships did not have a team element so this is the first chance the British team have had to defend the title they claimed in Montpellier two years ago.

Whitlock impressed in particular, qualifying in top spot for individual finals on the floor - where he will defend his title - and the pommel horse, where he scored an impressive 15.966 to finish ahead of Olympic champion Kristian Berki.

Purvis will also compete in the floor final while Oldham qualified on fourth on the high bar and is joined by Thomas in the final.

Whitlock admitted that despite his individual achievements, defending the European team title was his ultimate aim. "It's great a as team that we've topped the standings and continue our form from when we took the gold last time," the 21-year-old said. "We try not to the think about the pressure or expectation going in to it, each of us knows what we are capable of and knows how hard we work in the gym every day for competitions like this and the aim is always to go out and put all that hard work into the routines on the day.

"Personally of course I'm really happy with my performance and looking forward to the apparatus finals, but the main target for this event is the team and we have only completed part of the job."

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