Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton says his old side have “downgraded” their purchases in the transfer market since his time at the club.
Sutton spent five and a half years at the club from 2000 and understands how much harder it is for Celtic to attract the calibre of player that he used to play alongside.
The former England international was speaking on behalf of BT Sport ahead of Celtic's Europa League tie with Salzburg, and will be part of the presenting team on Thursday. He told GiveMeSport: “I think in fairness from my time there, Celtic have downgraded a bit certainly in the transfer market.
“I think in fairness from my time there, Celtic have downgraded a bit certainly in the transfer market."
“They can’t buy players from the market which they would like to for financial reasons, which is something we’ve all been able to understand.”
The financial growth of the other European leagues has left the Scottish Premiership behind and Celtic’s early elimination from the Champions League will also affect the club’s targets.
The Glaswegian club are top of the league but have looked unconvincing and Sutton thinks the team still need to improve.
“I don’t think Celtic have performed consistently to anywhere near the level they are capable of this season," he added.
“The performances have been not at the level for me which a Celtic side should play at.
“They haven’t gelled as well as they would have liked at times this season, but if it all comes together they still have players, who on any given day could give anybody a game.”
During Sutton’s time at the club he won three SPL titles, three Scottish Cups, one Scottish League Cup and reached the final of the UEFA Cup in 2003. He says the current crop of players have the potential to reach the same stage of the re-branded Europa League but they have to be firing on all cylinders.
“Celtic can’t afford to switch off at all and if they are at it I do think they can go a long way in this competition.”
The Hoops could qualify from the group stages with a draw on Thursday, but will be aiming to top the group to avoid any teams who drop out of the Champions League in the first knockout round.
BT Sport has live coverage of UEFA Europa League games throughout the group stages and beyond, as well live coverage of 4 SPFL games before the end of December including Dundee Utd v Celtic (5th Dec). Visit BT Sport.com for more information.