By Danny Wright
Former Rangers midfielder Joey Barton has claimed that Celtic would be “delighted” to finish third in their Champions League group.
The Hoops begin their group stage campaign on Tuesday night when they welcome big-spending Paris Saint-Germain to Parkhead while Bayern Munich and Anderlecht also await them in future fixtures.
A third place finish would guarantee the Hoops a spot in the Europa League, and that perhaps seems the most realistic goal due to the strength of PSG and Bayern.
While Belgian champions Anderlecht would also pose a massive challenge for the Bhoys, Barton has hinted that finishing above them would be the ideal finish to the Scottish club’s Champions League campaign.
“If they were to get to the knock-out stages it would be a phenomenal achievement but Brendan Rodgers has got them playing good football,” said Barton on TalkSport.
“They can afford to maybe not be at full tilt in the domestic campaign, which the English clubs don’t really have the luxury of doing.
“I just think with the group they’ve got, they’d be delighted at finishing third. It’s a tough, tough Champions League group that.”
Barton is widely known for what has been a very controversial football career and his short lived spell in Scotland with Rangers typified that as he lasted just six months at Ibrox before having his contract terminated after a training ground bust-up.
While the ex-England international thinks that Celtic could have the upper-hand over English clubs due to the weakness of the Premiership, he wasn’t going to shy away from landing a dig at the standard of football in Scotland.
He added: “People south of the border and people in Europe don’t take Scottish football seriously.
“I’ve been up there and played. I think Scottish football isn’t as bad as what people in England think but its also not as good as what people in Scotland think.”
Celtic finished bottom of their group last season in the Champions League with Borussia Monchengladbach, Manchester City and Barcelona drawn with them on that occasion.
In other Celtic news, Neymar has issued a warning to the Bhoys ahead of Tuesday night.