CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers believes his side are improving

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers

Boss Brendan Rodgers believes Celtic will be a Champions League last-16 team in two or three years.

The Hoops take on Borussia Monchengladbach in Germany on Tuesday night looking to add to their solitary Group C point after three fixtures and knowing that realistically a win is needed to have any chance of qualifying for the knock-out stages.

After losing left-back Kieran Tierney last week with ankle ligament damage, they will have to do it without another three key players as Kolo Toure, Jozo Simunovic and Leigh Griffiths missed the trip with a combination of injury, fatigue and illness.

At the pre-match press conference in Telegen, Holland, Rodgers was asked if would expect the Scottish Champions to be a last-16 side in that time period.

“I would hope so yes,” he said. “That’s the process we’re beginning.

“This is what this experience of this competition has given us - the chance to build towards that.

“The huge improvement that’s been made domestically is a huge credit to the players and how well they’ve worked and how hard they’ve worked. And it’s step by step.

“They’ve arrived into this level, in the toughest group in the competition and of course it’s been difficult for them. We don’t see it as a threat.

“It’s a major challenge for us but it’s a great challenge to have.

“Each year we can arrive here we can improve on it and hopefully get to the latter stages consistently.

“Let’s see how the next game goes and take it from there.”

Rodgers, though, acknowledged the difficulty of keeping a squad together for any length of time.

He said: “It’s also the job within the club that we can have this pipeline of players, if we lose one or two that we’re ahead of the game and ensuring we can replace them.

“It’ll always be the nature that, no matter how great Celtic is as a football club and the great support and playing for Celtic being the great privilege it is, there’s other factors in football that will sometimes take players away and you can’t blame a player.

“I think you have to be realistic, but the idea is to keep that pipeline of players coming in that if you lose one then that’s the job of the structure to help us do that.”

The former Liverpool boss sidestepped the question of qualifying this season.

He said: “I’m only concentrating on the next game. It is going to be a tough game for us.

“We didn’t play so well in the last game and they probably played at a level they haven’t played at for a number of weeks but, with that in mind, if we don’t make errors we can still take something from the game. It is about putting in a performance away from home and if we can do that then we know we have a chance.”