Champions League: Celtic will be back next season - Scott Brown

Celtic captain Scott Brown
Brown says the Celtic players felt a mixture of frustration and pride at their performance against Barcelona

Celtic captain Scott Brown insists the team will be back in the Champions League next year after they exited Europe with a game to play.

The Scottish champions' 2-0 home defeat by Barcelona, thanks to Lionel Messi's killer double, means they will finish bottom of Group C.

"Getting to this stage is great for us but we want to try and push on as much as we possibly can," he said.

"We're disappointed we're not in Europe after Christmas, but we'll be back."

The midfielder believes Celtic have made progress under Brendan Rodgers since they began their campaign with a 7-0 hammering by the Spanish champions.

"There's been ups and downs but it's just the start of the gaffer's era and we're always improving," said Brown.

"We're now looking forward to next season and we need to try and be back in it again.

Scott Brown appeals to referee Daniele Orsato after he awarded Barcelona a penalty for Emilio Izaguirre's challenge on Luis Suarez
Scott Brown appeals to referee Daniele Orsato after he awarded Barcelona a penalty for Emilio Izaguirre's challenge on Luis Suarez

"We didn't have the best start, but we've kicked on after that with good performances though not the best results.

"That's what we need to try to do every year now, be in the Champions League season after season."

Brown believes he and his team-mates should take a lot of personal gratification from their five Champions League matches this season despite collecting only two points.

"There's a bit of frustration but there's a lot of pride as well," he told BBC Scotland.

"We played against a top team that has won Champions Leagues and a lot of the team have won a lot with Spain as well.

"It was hard. We dug deep and were a little bit unlucky. The penalty was quite soft, but they're top quality players.

"The first goal's just exceptional - it's a great ball, it's great movement and it's a great finish."

Brown was also keen to defend Moussa Dembele, the club's top scorer who missed a gilt-edged chance to level the match when 1-0 down before Messi's second from the penalty spot killed off the Scottish champions' hopes.

"Moussa's scored some great goals for us and has won us games himself to be honest," he added.

"Strikers miss chances and strikers score great goals.

"He's a great player and he's been fantastic all season. What a signing he is for half a million quid."

Celtic eyes will now turn to attempting to win the first major silverware of the Scottish football season when they take on Aberdeen in Sunday's League Cup final.

And the Parkhead captain believes a victory for his side would put down a serious marker.

"Yeah, I think so," he said. "Especially for the gaffer, it would be huge for him being a Celtic fan, coming to the club and getting us playing as well as we can.

"We now need to give something back to him."