A Scottish Premier League side will not reach the final of a European competition in the near future, claims Celtic manager Martin O’Neill.

“It will be a fairly lengthy time before an SPL side contests a European final to be perfectly honest,” said O’Neill.

“We nearly did it last year when we got to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup so our own particular record in European football has been pretty creditable.

“We were in the Champions League (this season) and we didn’t get enough points to be in the UEFA Cup after Christmas and, from our own point of view, that is disappointing.

“But the fact is in the past few seasons this particular football club has been carrying the SPL flag forward so it’s probably time someone else did,” he added.

“The bottom line is there is no European football for any of the SPL clubs after Christmas, so make of that what you will.

“First of all, Scottish clubs do not contest UEFA Champions League finals and they don’t contest them (European finals) too often so when it comes around it has to be savoured and I know from our own experience how difficult these games are.

“And I can assure you that the Champions League is the Holy Grail of European football. It’s where the Barcelonas, AC Milans, the Manchester Uniteds, Bayern Munichs and Real Madrids are all aspiring to and want to be there and almost need to be contesting quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals.

“So it’s not a mind-blowing observation but with the financial state of the game here it’s going to be exceptionally difficult (to reach a final), but I hope I am proved wrong.

“It’s a lot to do with finance but it doesn’t mean you can’t compete. We contested one (a European final) two seasons ago… but is a monumental effort.”

Celtic reached the 2003 UEFA Cup final where they lost 3-2 to Porto after extra time in Seville.