Celtic must punch above weight in Champions League - Lambert & Commons

Celtic players
Celtic are preparing for their second succesive season in the Champions League group stage

Former Celtic midfielders Paul Lambert and Kris Commons say the club will need to "punch above their weight" to progress in the Champions League.

Celtic are in Group B with Bayern Munich, Anderlecht and Paris Saint-Germain, who visit Glasgow on Tuesday.

"You know you're going to go in with the best," said former Celtic captain Lambert. "You've got two of the best teams."

And Commons said: "It's difficult. You need to take it up to the next step."

Lambert won the Champions League with Borussia Dortmund in 1997 and was part of the first Celtic side to reach the Champions League group stage in 2001.

He skippered the side to the Uefa Cup final in 2003.

"Celtic are going to have to punch above their weight to go through," said the former Scotland captain. "I think [Celtic manager] Brendan [Rodgers] knows that.

Paul Lambert
Lambert won nine major trophies with Celtic

"You're going to have to pick up points away. To win at home is not enough, you have to get points away from home and to beat Bayern and to beat PSG - they're capable of doing it, what worries me a little bit is away from home.

"We never qualified with nine points. Sometimes teams got through with five and six. We had to get a point away from home, which we never managed to do.

"It didn't bother me, personally, who came [to play Celtic] because I thought we could beat them and to be fair, it proved it. Juventus couldn't do it, Bayern couldn't do it, Porto couldn't do it - none of them could beat us in our own backyard. It was away from home that we couldn't pick up [points].

"You've earned the right to be in the Champions League but make a mark in it. Just don't think, 'okay, we're happy to be in it'. Try and make a dent in it and try and go as far as you possibly can.

"I was fortunate enough to watch Bayern Munich the other week against [Bayer] Leverkusen. It was the first time I had seen [Arturo] Vidal and [Franck] Ribery up close and they were unbelievable. What a side they were and that was without six first-teamers.

"PSG? I think they're my tip to be really close to it this year. With the signing of Neymar, their front three is dynamite."

Commons was part of Neil Lennon's Celtic side that reached the last 16 of the Champions League in season 2012-13.

And he added on BBC Radio Scotland's Sportsound: "I always felt like I was testing myself against that ability. Man against man, let me just see how far and how close I am.

Kris Commons
Commons' penalty against Spartak Moscow in Glasgow secured Celtic a place in the Champions League last 16

"In the games I was lucky enough to do alright. We had a very successful Champions League campaign under Neil Lennon. We picked up points away from home. We beat Spartak Moscow 3-2 and that was probably the first time Celtic won away from home in 15 attempts. But that's the sort of stuff that you have to do.

"We ran Barcelona very close away from home, everyone knows that we beat them home.

"If you don't quite turn up on the night, you find yourself losing 3-0, 4-0. You have to be punching above your weight, you need to take it up to the next step."

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