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.