| 12.7°C Belfast

Deila praises Celtic's strength in depth


All smiles: Callum McGregor salutes his deflected goal

All smiles: Callum McGregor salutes his deflected goal

Jeff Holmes/PA Wire

All smiles: Callum McGregor salutes his deflected goal

Celtic manager Ronny Deila will leave for Sweden this morning armed with faith in his squad after a much-changed team won 3-1 at Dundee United on Saturday.

Only Emilio Izaguirre and Leigh Griffiths retained their places following Celtic's 3-2 triumph over Malmo in the first leg of the Champions League play-offs but Celtic eased to a comfortable Ladbrokes Premiership win.

The latter rejected the opportunity of a rest in order to continue his goalscoring form following his double against the Swedes and he did so within 17 minutes at Tannadice after latching on to Izaguirre's through ball and rounding Luis Zwick.

Deila was given much food for thought as several players boosted their prospects of involvement in Sweden. Charlie Mulgrew dominated the centre of the park in the first-half and Kris Commons worked his way into five good shooting positions inside the box, forcing three good saves from Zwick and seeing another effort cleared off the line by Mark Durnan, who later turned the playmaker's pass into his own net before Chris Erskine pulled one back from the penalty spot.

Callum McGregor also returned to goalscoring form by netting a deflected strike in the 74th minute to wrap up the points.

Deila said: "It gives us confidence and it's competition. There is a squad there that is going to go and perform together. We have options in the team and also coming off the bench and that's going to be important."

The Norwegian also handed a debut to Scott Allan, who looked confident on the ball in his 23 minutes on the park in the left midfield slot.

"I have only seen him for two or three days in training so it's a bit early but he had the confidence to come on and show talent," said Deila.

"The system we are playing is a little bit different to what he is used to so it will take a bit of time to get into that but when you have the skills and understanding of the game then you have a very good chance to fit in."

With Mikael Lustig a doubt for Malmo with a hamstring injury, Deila handed Saidy Janko the chance to shine at right-back.

The former Manchester United player made some strong runs down the right in the opening half, although his delivery was a touch erratic.

Deila said: "He is a great prospect for us - 20-years-old, very strong and quick and offensively he caused them a lot of problems in the first 35 to 40 minutes.

"I think he got tired and he needs to work a little bit on discipline and positioning. But there are a lot of good things to work on and a lot of talent out there."

The likeliest candidate to play right-back tomorrow if Lustig fails to make it is Efe Ambrose but he gave away the penalty that allowed Erskine to give United a glimmer of hope when he brought down Scott Fraser.

Belfast Telegraph