By David Woods

20th Aug, 2017 | 4:59pm

Michael Stewart makes big claim about Celtic season, Bhoys fans in for nervy night

By Harry Sykes

Footballer turned pundit Michael Stewart has said that Celtic are “light years” away from where they were last season.

He has said that Celtic are a much better side than they were last year when they won the domestic treble without losing a single game.

If there was one downside to the season it was in the Champions League, where Celtic went out at the group stage without winning a game.

However, Stewart has said that they’ve got a real chance of making the knockout stages this season, and that Brendan Rodgers can take all the credit.

In his column in the Scottish Sun, Steward said, “This side is light years ahead of where they were at this stage last year.

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“As things stand you have got to think reaching the knockout stages is a possibility.

“And Rodgers deserves huge credit for his side being in this position.

“He has complete confidence in what he is doing and therefore so do his players.

“It’s one thing talking the talk but when results back you up they have to buy in.”

However, he also said that Celtic’s progression in the competition could come down to something out of their control.

They’re 5-0 up in their qualifier against Astana, which effectively means that tie is dead with the second leg to come.

But Stewart added, “I’m guessing a few nails will be bitten as Olympiacos and Rijeka play out their second leg.

“If, and it’s a big if, the Greeks can’t hold on to their 2-1 lead the Hoops will go into pot three.”

That would mean a much more favourable draw for the Scottish champions, who had to contest a group with Barcelona and Manchester City last season.

That put them in a real group of death, and they emerged with two creditable draws against Man City.

Celtic fans will be hoping they don’t have to try and perform the same sort of heroics to progress further this season.

In other Celtic news, the odds have been slashed on the Scottish giants signing a West Ham big-money player.

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