By Harry Sykes
Celtic must sign a top quality central defender by Thursday night to progress to the European knock-out stages, according to a leading Scottish journalist.
BBC commentator Rob Maclean has insisted that the Hoops need to be active in the final 72 hours of the window to strengthen the squad for a proper European assault.
Maclean believes Roberts can help Brendan Rodgers’ side to dominate domestically but more is needed for a sustained challenge on bigger stages.
Celtic have been drawn against giants Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League group stages as well as Anderlecht.
The Scottish treble winners will progress to the Europa League knockout stages if they finish third and are are unable to secure an against-the-odds top two finish.
“These last few days of the transfer window will decide what Celtic can achieve this season,” Maclean wrote on the BBC Sport website.
“And I’m not talking about the return of fans’ favourite Patrick Roberts for another loan spell from Manchester City even if he does add some welcome sparkle to their attacking options.
“Brendan Rodgers doesn’t need anyone to tell him that Celtic need at least one top quality central defender if his Champions League aspirations are to be realised.
“Their domestic domination would be extended without any new defensive recruits. Dropped points, as happened against St Johnstone on Saturday, will continue to be a rarity.
“But Celtic clearly need to strengthen at the back if they want to be playing European football beyond Christmas.”
Celtic’s current senior centre-back options Jozo Simunovic, Erik Sviatchenko and Dedryck Boyata are all sidelined due to injury.
Rodgers has been forced to use a number of emergency options in the opening weeks of the season, including midfielder Nir Bitton, right-back Mikael Lustig and rookie Kristoffer Ajer.
In other Celtic transfer news, the club have completed the most exciting signing of the window.