IT doesn't matter who Celtic are paired with when the draw for the last 16 of the Champions League takes place on Thursday – the Parkhead side will be seriously up against it in their attempts to reach the quarter-finals.

But on the evidence of several performances during the group stage, manager Neil Lennon can be confident his young team will give a good account of themselves. The big question, however, is what club offers Celtic the best opportunity to progress further in Europe.

Lennon is likely to want to avoid Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, PSG and Juventus. All five are packed with world-class acts but the other two sides, Malaga and Schalke, certainly offer a degree of hope.

Schalke, in particular, don't have their troubles to seek, having parted company with their coach, Huub Stevens, after a run of six winless Bundesliga games. A lack of confidence and changes at the top could work in Celtic's favour if they were to go up against them.