Celtic will be able to hold onto their big-name players this season as they will want to showcase their talents in the Europa League, according to Noel Whelan.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Leeds and Aberdeen striker delivered his verdict as the Hoops beat Sarajevo 1-0 on Thursday to progress to the group stages of the competition.

The Scottish champions will now face AC Milan, Lille and Sparta Prague in group H in what represents one of the toughest groups in the competition.

Neil Lennon insisted before his side’s victory over Sarajevo that his transfer plans would not be affected by whether the Bhoys progressed in Europe.

He said: “We don’t want anyone to leave. If that means we have to dig our heels in, then so be it. But I think we’re quite strong on that. I’ve had no indication that I’ll have to sell a player [even if we go out of the Europa League].”

Star players Odsonne Edouard and Kristoffer Ajer have been linked with moves away from Parkhead this transfer window.

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However, Whelan believes all of Celtic’s players will want to stay and play in Europe.

He told Football Insider“They failed miserably in the Champions League and that was a massive disappointment and a massive shock as well.

“They’ve now rectified their mistake and got themselves in Europe and in the group stages.

“Every player at every big club wants to be playing in Europe whichever competition.

“Champions League is obviously more desired but never turn your nose up at the Europa League.

“It’s a great competition and one where you can showcase yourself again, you’re in the spotlight and you’re looked upon.

“Celtic will want to go as far as they can, as will Rangers who had a great run last season.”

In other news, Alex McLeish has tipped a Celtic 25-year-old to quit the club amid reported Premier League club bid.