Scottish Premiership side Celtic wouldn’t finish above Sunderland in League One after crashing out of the Champions League, according to former Arsenal player Perry Groves.
The Hoops dropped into the Europa League qualifiers after a 2-1 extra-time defeat by Midtjylland in Denmark saw them fall at the first hurdle in Europe’s elite competition.
Ange Postecoglou’s side will now take on Jablonec in the Czech Republic next Thursday night.
The Australian admitted after last week’s 1-1 first-leg draw that he would never go into such a big game so badly prepared again.
But Nir Bitton dropped out through suspension for the trip to Denmark and Leigh Griffiths missed out with injury.
Celtic lined up with a back four with an average age of 21 and the only substitute Postecoglou used in 90 minutes was James Forrest, who missed their pre-season training camp because of a self-isolation order.
Two of Postecoglou’s summer signings were in quarantine and a jaded-looking Celtic side offered no response after the Danes went ahead four minutes into extra-time.
Reacting to the defeat, Groves told talkSPORT: “It’s their season done and dusted.
“Ange Postecoglou knew it was the biggest rebuild Celtic have had for the last 20 years, but they don’t have any money!
“It’s the second season on the trot they’ve gone out in the second qualification round of the Champions League, and they’ve been beaten by the second best team in Denmark.
“Does that tell you where the Scottish Premiership is at the moment?
“Last season Celtic finished 25 points behind Rangers, and Hibs were 14 points behind Celtic, so they were 39 points behind Rangers, and Rangers are only going to get stronger.
“Celtic have no chance of catching Rangers, absolutely none whatsoever. That’s their season done.”
Groves added: “At this moment of time, Celtic are a decent League One team.
“Hull City, Peterborough and Blackpool got promoted this year and Sunderland came fourth – Celtic wouldn’t finish above Sunderland in League One.
“Celtic are nowhere near winning the title.
“I think Rangers would probably be one of the top six teams in the Championship. I think if they went straight into the Premier League they would find the competition and the relentlessness every week very taxing.
“If they came down here and had a few years, they could absolutely establish themselves in the Premier League.
“But the standard of the Scottish Premiership is not great.”