WITH quarter of an hour gone in the Telia Parken last week and Celtic settling into their task quite nicely, Copenhagen striker Dame N’Doye had clearly seen enough. With the ball in the air and Christopher Jullien the odds-on favourite to head it clear, the Senegalese frontman decided to barrel in regardless.

His head collided with the cheek of Jullien a full second or two after the ball had left the vicinity, but while that apparent recklessness - being generous - may have cost the Frenchman a couple of teeth, it was never going to cost Celtic his services for the rest of the evening.

According to Jullien, and exemplified by him in that incident, Celtic will not be bullied by any opponent, and you get the sense from the 26-year-old that he is rather looking forward to renewing hostilities with N’Doye in Glasgow tomorrow night.

“I remember that incident – and so does my dentist,” Jullien said rather pointedly. “It was a bad one, but when I take the field, I always want to give it everything I’ve got, and I had no intention of leaving my partner or the rest of my team-mates.

“We were only 10-15 minutes into the game at that stage and I had plenty of energy, I was excited about the tie and, in my head, it was impossible for me to leave the pitch.

“I lost some parts of my teeth but it’s okay; my dentist is good. It’s important to let other teams know that we won’t be bullied. Every game is tough, but we always get up and we do that after every bad moment. If a team tries to rough us up then we’ll just keep trying to do our best, again and again and again.

“After certain games I’m not happy to come off at the end covered in bruises but it is what it is. In Scotland and England, the game is more physical and there is always going to be an element of going to battle. I’m ready for that now.

“Kristoffer Ajer was talking yesterday about some hit he’d taken, but sometimes you can’t be pretty if you’re going to win.

“I don’t think any person or any of my team-mates are afraid of anyone. We know our qualities and we trust each other. We had a stadium like a 12th man and we have everything with us."

To anyone following Jullien’s progress since his arrival at Celtic, it will come as no surprise that when conversation turns to how N’Doye ranks among the toughest opponents he has faced this season, the name of a Livingston striker is the first to his lips. Considering the other opponents he name-checks are Aberdeen forward Sam Cosgrove and the twin strikers of Lazio – Ciro Immobile and Felipe Caicedo – then it is quite the compliment.

The centre-back was given something of an education about what Scottish football is all about back in October as Celtic fell to defeat at the Toni Macaroni Arena, but in the long-term, Jullien believes it was an invaluable experience.

“I really liked the battle against Dykes in the first game,” he said. “The second game was way better, but the first game was a tough one.

“At that moment, when I spoke after the Livingston game, people were asking why I talked so much about that match.

“Now, they say they know why it was so important to me, because after that game we were a different team.

“In my head why I arrived here, I thought I was invincible. I’d had heard about the Invincibles and wanted to come here and do that. Have a perfect season and win everything. But that was our first defeat.

“I knew the team we had, the strength we had, and I thought we could have done it, but we didn’t and after that mistake we got up. We became a different team and got up. After the loss in December, we got up again to the team we are now.

“I just love the team we are now because we react so well in bad moments and this is how we show our character.”

Jullien says he has encountered a rise in gamesmanship since arriving in Scotland, both verbal and physical, but he is more than happy to dish it out too.

“I am in a different position here,” he said. “I am in the big team here, so it is me that is now doing it, whereas before, I was on the receiving end.

“I try to get into the head of the striker or my opponent, but that all stays on the pitch.

“Sometimes I prefer to ignore opponents and sometimes I prefer to use it to try and get into the head of the striker and to play with him. The important thing is to stay on the field.

“Sometimes I lose. I’ll try to speak to the striker and then he scores, that’s my bad, I just have to take it.

“Always, for sure, when there is a bit of trash talk and little things off the ball, even contact and stuff like that, to win then is more enjoyable.

“That’s normal, it is what it is. Every sport is the same.”