BRENDAN RODGERS admitted there is a massive gap between Celtic and Europe’s elite.
The Hoops boss is also aware of expectation levels as he prepares his team for the Europa League first leg tie against Zenit St Petersburg at Parkhead on Thursday night.
Rodgers said: “I’ve seen some comments about possibly winning it.
“I’m a realist and we want to be competitive in it, that’s what is important. But there’s still a big gulf. That’s the reality.
“We have to somehow try and find a way to get through in these upcoming games over the two legs, but we understand it will be very difficult.“You look at the teams that are in the Europa League – the likes of Napoli and Borussia Dortmund.“These are teams that would have been hoping and expecting to go a long way in the Champions League, so the calibre of clubs and players is at a really high level.
“Everyone wants to be in the Champions League, but the Europa League isn’t a competition you can turn your nose up at. It’s a really prestigious competition.”
The Russians have spent £62million on transfers this season – an amount way out of the Scottish champions’ reach.
Rodgers added: “It is a huge club which has had big investment. They’re set up to go far in European competitions and the money there is huge.
“I played there years ago with Liverpool in a different stadium. Now they have a nice, new one and it looks great.“They want to go far in European completion and to do that you need to invest.”