Celtic's only top-class defender is Kieran Tierney - Alan Stubbs

Kieran Tierney is the only top-class defender at Celtic, according to Alan Stubbs.

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Kieran Tierney has earned praise from Alan Stubbs. Picture: SNSKieran Tierney has earned praise from Alan Stubbs. Picture: SNS
Kieran Tierney has earned praise from Alan Stubbs. Picture: SNS

The former Hoops centre back believes Brendan Rodgers will have to improve his defence before the Scottish champions can take the next step at the Champions League level.

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Celtic are hopeful of getting a kind group stage draw on Thursday evening and then make significant progress on last year’s campaign, where they exited at the group stages having failed to record a win in six games.

Stubbs, though, believes that Celtic need to upgrade the defensive positions, particularly at centre-back where Jozo Simunovic, Dedryck Boyata and Erik Sviatchenko are the current first choice picks.

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He told BBC Scotland: “The only top-class defender they’ve got is Tierney.

“Domestically, Sviatchenko, Boyata, Simunovic are competent, but the Champions League is a whole new ball game.

“You need to allow Tierney to go forward, and that puts extra pressure on the two centre-backs and the opposite full-back. That’s where the problem lies.

“Last year when they went into the group stage, people thought they just needed to be competitive and do themselves justice. I don’t think anyone thought they were going to come through that tough group.

“But the mindset’s changed now, people are potentially looking for Celtic to progress, to see whether that’s a measure of Brendan improving in Europe. And to do that, I don’t think they’re good enough [defensively], apart from Tierney. I really don’t.

“That’s the biggest area of the team when they go to the Champions League they need to improve.”