Pat Bonner fears Celtic are now a Europa League team - branding the Champions League a ‘step too far’ for his old club.

The former Hoops keeper has blasted the ‘defensive frailties’ that saw Neil Lennon’s side crash out of Europe’s premier competition with Wednesday night’s shock 2-1 defeat at home to Ferencvaros.

It proved a familiar tale after last season’s 4-3 loss to Cluj at Parkhead in their Champions League qualifier and the 3-1 reverse to Copenhagen on home soil that ended the subsequent Europa League campaign at the round of 32.

With AEK Athens proving too strong in 2018’s qualifiers, it means three seasons without reaching the Champions League group stages and Bonner believes it may be the Glasgow giants are finding their level in the continent’s second-rate tournament.

He said: “Let’s face it, [Ferencvaros] were not at Cluj’s level, for me. They’ve only played two games this season, so they’re at the start of the season and Celtic should be able to deal with that.

“Celtic were at home and it’s really, really disappointing - and it’s down to those defensive frailties I talk about all the time. People say [to me], ‘you’re too negative’ but no, those are the things I was brought up on. They want to be in the Champions League but the Europa League is probably the level they can operate in, to a point, and make an impact in.

“The Champions League is a step too far away from them, I think. And it’s going to be that way for a while, I think."

Bonner has also hit out at the players who Lennon has claimed are ‘making waves to leave’. He told BBC Scotland: “They’ve just won nine in a row, they’re going for 10 in a row and they’re trying to qualify for the Champions League.

“And he’s talking about players who don’t want to be there at this moment in time? It doesn’t make sense. If it is the case, and that’s happening within the dressing room at this moment in time, and it’s upsetting things, then the fans should be up in arms about it.

“There’s over 50,000 season tickets sold at this club, which is quite incredible, and they’re paying huge money to some of those players. And if that’s going on in that dressing room and there’s a certain one or two that think they’re above this club, and it’s upsetting the results on the pitch, then that should not be happening.”