By Noel Whelan

17th Sep, 2022 | 12:07pm

Whelan shares 'massive' Celtic claim after what he's just seen at Parkhead

Noel Whelan has suggested Celtic could qualify for the Champions League knockout stage after a “massive” away point against Shakhtar Donetsk.

The former Leeds and Aberdeen striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the Hoops’ spirited home performance against holders Real Madrid is another good omen for their potential qualification.

Celtic took the lead inside 10 minutes in Warsaw against Shakhtar but were pegged back by in-demand star Mykhaylo Mudryk just 20 minutes later.

The Hoops, who were defeated 3-0 at home against Real Madrid last week (6 September), now face a double-header against German side RB Leipzig.

Ange Postecoglou’s side qualified for the Champions League group stage for the first time since the 2017-18 campaign after winning the Scottish Premiership.

Whelan suggested Celtic could advance in the Europa League if they are to finish third in Group F.

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He told Football Insider’s Ewan Kingsbury: “Anything can happen – but they’ll be fighting tooth and nail to stay in this competition.

“It’s the best competition in the world, the strongest competition in the world.

“They’ll be up against sides with much bigger budgets, but it’s a challenge that Postecoglou and his players are very much up to.

“These two games against Leipzig are must-wins. But they did well against Real Madrid for an hour and that is a good sign going forwards.

“Bringing back a point away from home is massive.

“If they finish third in the group and drop down to the Europa League then they can go forward – but I think they can stay in the Champions League.”

In other news, Celtic idol surprised by Matt O’Riley decision after manager’s reveal – “I didn’t see that coming”.