FORMER Celtic defender Johan Mjallby has backed Brendan Rodgers to lead the club to Champions League success as the Bhoys prepare to begin the gruelling qualification process.

The former Liverpool boss has led the Scottish champions to the group stage of European football’s elite club competition in both of his two seasons in charge and will begin his third assault on the competition next week when they travel to Armenia to face Alashkert in the first qualifying round.

Mjallby was a prominent member of Martin O’Neill’s Celtic side that reached the final of the UEFA Cup in 2003 and he believes Rodgers could help the club become a force on the European stage once more.

Read more: Celtic boss challenges Moussa Dembele to have best ever season after summer improvements​

When asked in an interview with Betstars if the Northern Irishman can lead Celtic to success in Europe, he said: "Yes, without a shadow of doubt. He was a great pick from Celtic, the football he [Rodgers] stands for is very similar to the Celtic style of football, passing the ball and playing with pace.

“Obviously they have been dominant domestically and they've had two unbelievable seasons in Scotland, winning the treble twice, which is a fantastic achievement. Under Brendan they can build on last year's experience in the Champions League and deliver the goods, he can definitely lead them to success in Europe."

Moussa Dembele was a star performer in the Champions League during Rodgers’ first season in charge, scoring three group stage goals in before adding another in the clash with Paris Saint-Germain last term. 

The France Under-21 striker’s form in green and white has led to speculation over his future and Mjallby believes that his fate will depend on the scale of the bids being submitted to the Celtic Park hierarchy.

"It's all about the price,” he said.

“If a really great offer comes in for him then I'm sure Celtic will contemplate the offer. He's been a great success at the club and hopefully they can enjoy him for a little longer.

“He's still very young, he's got a lot of quality but he can improve even more and become an even better player. I'm sure he loves working with Brendan Rodgers as well.

Read more: Celtic boss challenges Moussa Dembele to have best ever season after summer improvements​

"It all comes down to if a really great offer comes in because if you lose a player like Dembele you have to try and bring in someone with the same quality or even better quality if you can. It's a catch 22 for Celtic because he is a great player and I would hate to see him leave."

Steven Gerrard will lead Rangers’ bid to stop Celtic securing an eighth consecutive league triumph next season, but Mjallby is convinced that Rodgers’ superior experience gives him the upper hand in their managerial tussle.

"You have to look at their experience,” he said. “Brendan has a lot of experience from the Premier League but it will be interesting to see what Steven Gerrard can do at Rangers and see if they are really ready to challenge Celtic this season.

“There are a lot of questions but it's a great opportunity for Steven Gerrard to learn his trade and become a very good manager. I would still rate Brendan Rodgers above him at the moment because his experience is so important."