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Celtic are already brimming with Champions League quality: Ronny Deila

Celtic 5 Inverness CT 0

By Ronnie Esplin

Celtic have improved enough to make it into the Champions League next season without any additions, according to Ronny Deila.

The Hoops boss got his hands on the Scottish Premiership trophy after a 5-0 win over a weakened Inverness side at Parkhead.

His twin teenage daughters Thale and Live carried the silverware out to the podium for former Hoops striker and fellow Norwegian Harald Brattbakk to make the presentation to skipper Scott Brown, to go with the Scottish League Cup won earlier in Deila's first season as boss.

Deila passed up on two chances to qualify for the Champions League earlier in the campaign as he came to grips with taking over from Neil Lennon.

But he insists that even if they do not add to the squad, they will be in a much better place for a tilt at Europe next season.

He said: "I think we are still in a good position, even if we don't add anyone else before the qualifiers. I'm not worried.

"I know that the players who are here already are the ones who are going to do the main job.

"We were in a totally different place last year with a lot of uncertainties.

"They felt unsafe with what I wanted to put into the team. The transition was so hard.

"We struggled with that. A lot of managers have come into Celtic and other places before me and also struggled with that.

"Now we have a foundation to work on. You can see that everyone on the pitch knows their tasks and have a good togetherness.

"We know what is ahead of us and it motivates us."

A double from Serbian striker Stefan Scepovic and further goals from midfielder Stefan Johansen and substitutes Leigh Griffiths and Kris Commons left Celtic on 92 points, 17 ahead of Aberdeen and having conceded only 17 goals, a post-war record.

Deila claimed that Scepovic, who signed last year for a reported fee of £2.3million from Sporting Gijon but who was given a rare start after failing to pin down a regular place, still has a future at the club.

He said: "Stefan has struggled a little bit to get into the physical side of Scottish football but he showed he is capable of doing it. I'm very happy for him.

"He knew what I expected from him - hard work and quick reactions.

"We know he can score goals but I think he worked really, really hard and showed that he is capable of doing what we ask him to do.

"Everyone will get a chance next season. He is in our squad, so he is one of them.

"I have no plans to speak to his agent. I will speak to the player, not the agent - it's much better.

"Of course he wants to stay here. He wants to succeed here. But everyone wants to play football, that's the hardest part for me to manage.

"We need competition and we need a squad who can stay over 70 games or so a season."

Deila was pleased with the way his side applied themselves to their final fixture.

He said: "It was a very good experience, a fantastic day. I was very happy with the performance.

"We didn't have anything to play for except our honour and I think the players did that in a brilliant way.

"The atmosphere was great, there were so many people in the stadium.

"We got the trophy and it was great to see so many people excited about it.

"We have also set a record for the least number of goals conceded in the league this season.

"That's a great achievement, so I'm happy for Craig Gordon and the defence."

Belfast Telegraph


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