Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Football Scottish Celtic

Ronny Deila refuses to confirm if Celtic's Aleksandar Tonev will face Dons

By Ronnie Esplin

Ronny Deila claims race row winger Aleksandar Tonev is mentally attuned for Celtic's trip to Aberdeen tomorrow but refused to confirm that he will be in the squad.

The 24-year-old Bulgarian, on loan from Aston Villa, was suspended by the Scottish Football Association for seven matches for using ''offensive, insulting and abusive language of a racist nature'' towards Dons defender Shay Logan when the teams met at Parkhead in September.

Celtic appealed the decision after allowing Tonev to miss last week's Premiership home win against Inverness and he is free to play at Pittodrie.

Speaking before Celtic flew home from Thursday night's 1-1 Europa League draw with Astra Giurgiu - Tonev was an unused substitute - the Hoops manager said: "Yes, he (Tonev) seems very strong mentally so everything is fine.

"I speak to him all the time. But I can't confirm that he is in the squad. I haven't decided yet.

"We have a big squad and we will see what we are doing. I have to take the team I think is the best and everyone is available.

"It is a case we have to handle.

"We support Aleksandar, as we have said all the time, and there is nothing to think about any more.

"The case will go on but we have to concentrate on the football."

For now, Deila is happy to see John Guidetti available for selection again.

The Swedish striker (22) once again missed the Europa League fixture as he was not registered in time for the competition following his loan move from Manchester City.

Guidetti has scored nine goals in nine appearances this season and will be available if the Scottish champions reach the last-32 of the competition.

The Parkhead side will qualify if they beat already-qualified Salzburg at Celtic Park later in the month but, meanwhile, Deila is trying to take his side to the top of the Premiership.

Defender Jason Denayer believes the Hoops return from their latest European escapade to one of their most difficult domestic fixtures of the season.

The 19-year-old Belgian defender said: "Aberdeen is a very good team so it is going to be a great game but a difficult game.

"We were disappointed against Astra. We needed to win the game, but we have to keep going in the next game against Aberdeen.

"We need to prepare to try to win."

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph