Alex McLeish insists that getting into Europe is a “huge boost” for Celtic in terms of keeping their top players at the club.
The former Scotland manager, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, claims that the Hoops’ stars now have no excuse to try and force a move before Monday’s transfer deadline.
As quoted by the Daily Record, manager Neil Lennon admitted the Hoops may have had to consider selling players had they failed to secure a place in the Europa League group stages.
The likes of Odsonne Edouard, Kristoffer Ajer and Ryan Christie have all been linked with a move away from Parkhead this window.
However, the departures of Jonny Hayes, Craig Gordon and Jozo Simunovic on free transfers have been the only high-profile exits so far.
McLeish insists that Thursday’s win over Sarajevo, which secured the Bhoys’ place in the Europa League group stages, is a big deal for the Hoops in terms of keeping their squad together.
Asked how important securing European football was, McLeish told Football Insider: “Huge boost, it’s what the players thrive on.
“It saves any excuses of the players going: ‘Ah well we didn’t get to Europe so it’s time for me to move on,’ which can be a pretty good excuse.
“They’re at a big club and they should savour every moment of it, keep the form and then see what happens.
“A lot of them are young guys and they know they want to get as much out of the game as they can in terms of winning things and being a good footballer but also security for their future and their family.”
As quoted by the Daily Record, Lennon said: “I’m very confident he’ll (Edouard) still be here after Monday night. In fact, I think I’m very confident they will all still be here.
“We’re very strong on it, we don’t want to sell any of our players — and we don’t need to now. Maybe if we hadn’t qualified it would’ve been something the board would’ve had to look at. But, that’s not an issue for us now.”
In other Celtic news, Sheffield United have made moves to beat the Hoops to sign a £10million-rated star.