BRENDAN RODGERS admitted there is “still a long way to go” for Celtic to gatecrash the knock-out stages of the Champions League .

The Hoops boss has witnessed as his side have been drawn in groups over the past two seasons against moneybag outfits Barcelona, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich.

Rodgers had to be satisfied with third place in the last campaign that opened the door to the Europa League where they lost 3-1 on aggregate to cash-rich Zenit St Petersburg at the first hurdle.

He said: “A lot of great work has been done here, but there’s still a long way to go to be anywhere near competitive at that level – and that’s the real world of football.

“Even the Europa League is like a Champions League II now. Just look at the teams, the resources and everything in that.

“That isn‘t to quash any hope, but I am here to try to fight and keep the club moving. But it has to be step-by-step.

“We are in a real exciting period at the club.

“There are a lot of things that we need to develop and improve and, unfortunately, that won’t happen overnight as Celtic don’t have those resources.

“It will be something that is a year-on-year improvement.”

Celtic, of course, must negotiate four qualifying rounds to reach the group stage this season.

The draw is due on June 19.

* Rodgers was speaking to The Celtic View, out now.

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