Celtic's Scott Brown: Scottish teams must step up in Europe

Celtic players and manager
Celtic celebrated a 3-0 win against Alashkert in Yerevan in their first competitive game of the new season

Captain Scott Brown has urged Celtic's Premiership counterparts to deliver in Europe and boost Scottish teams' hopes of regular group-stage involvement.

Celtic must negotiate an unprecedented four qualifying rounds this term to reach the Champions League.

The national champions have been the only Scottish side to make the group stage of either European tournament for the past seven years.

"It just gets harder and harder for us to get in," said midfielder Brown, 33.

"Until everyone else starts helping us out, and we could have done better with Scotland in the past few years which would help us out too.

"In the past, two [Scottish] teams were in the Champions League so here's hoping we can go back to getting right into the [group stage], but you never know.

"You've just got to take every game as it comes because there's some top-quality teams in it, so whoever we play we've got to be on our A game, make sure we're ready and as fit as we possibly can be."

Celtic hold a 3-0 first-leg lead in their first qualifying round tie as they prepare for Wednesday's return meeting with Armenian side Alashkert in Glasgow.

Celtic's Moussa Dembele stretches to reach a cross against Alashkert
Celtic's 3-0 victory in Yerevan earned them a comfortable buffer for the second leg

Should they progress, Brendan Rodgers' men will face Norwegians Rosenborg or Valur of Iceland in the second round.

And skipper Brown admits the money Celtic earn by competing in the group stage is a vital fillip for the club.

"There's more and more money going into the game so it's getting harder as others' budgets are a lot higher than ours," he said.

"But we've got a great bunch of lads, good management and staff and the club is going in the right direction, so we should be pushing that as far as we can.

"We need to make sure we're still getting into the Champions League so we can get that pot of money as it's huge for this club to invest in players, in the training ground, the young players coming through as well."

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