Lawwell hopes to take Celtic to the next stage

Last updated at 13:04 06 March 2008

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell pledged fresh investment in Gordon

Strachan's squad to help the Parkhead side get past the last-16 stage of the

Champions League next season.

The Hoops' 1-0 defeat by Barcelona at the Nou Camp on Tuesday night meant that

for the second season in succession, the Clydesdale Bank Premier League

champions have failed to progress through to the quarter-finals.

Talk of a 'glass ceiling' dominated the aftermath of the 4-2 aggregate defeat

but Lawwell - like manager Strachan - refuted any notion that the last 16 was

the club's Champions League limit.

"It's a fantastic achievement to get into the last 16 of the Champions League

two years running when you put into context the gulf in finance and resources

between us and the big European clubs," Lawwell said.

"We enjoyed the occasion on Tuesday night and at Celtic Park in the first leg

but we are bitterly disappointed with the result.

"Now we must push on and I believe we can. "We must keep our good players and

bring in better quality players to supplement what we have here. Like Gordon,

I'm very optimistic of doing that.

"Could we get to the last eight? There is no reason why not. "We were paired

with a team that can go on and win the competition so there is no shame in

losing to them.

"We are 100% behind Gordon and together we believe there isn't a glass ceiling

and that we can progress the club."

Lawwell added: "We have flexibility and a financial foundation that enables us

to maintain a standard of player.

"We can't compete with Barcelona, Manchester United or Chelsea in the transfer

market but we will operate at our own level and hope that through time we can

get our edge through other methods.

"We signed Scott Brown for £4million and will continue to do that if the right

deal comes along.

"We are financially sound and the good thing is we have flexibility to


Lawwell backed Strachan to bolster his squad wisely for another tilt at Europe

next season.

He said: "Gordon is as hungry as ever and wants to take us forward. "He is

connected with the club and understands the ambition, expectations and what it

means to be involved with Celtic and he is happy to take that on.

"We have a plan and we understand where Gordon wants to strengthen. There are

a lot of options.

"We plan ahead and we had a decent January and summer last season.

"We will go forward in that cycle trying to stay ahead of the game."

No comments have so far been submitted. Why not be the first to send us your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now