Celtic boss Ronny Deila hits out at Champions League format

Ronnie Deila: League could lose identity. Picture: SNS

Ronnie Deila: League could lose identity. Picture: SNS

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CELTIC manager Ronny Deila last night added his voice to the growing disquiet over plans to squeeze smaller nations out of the Champions League.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster this week deemed proposals to favour teams from the big five nations of Spain, Germany, England, Italy and France as “sinister”.

And the Norwegian said any such moves would strip the competition of its identity, saying: “If you are going to call it the Champions League we have to have the champions in there or it’s not the Champions League any more. It would be the five top leagues having a championship when I thought it was called the Champions League.”

After watching his team record a comfortable 2-0 home win over Ross County, Deila refused to consider that his team had shifted the pressure on to Aberdeen in the Championship.

The Pittodrie men now need to win tomorrow at Inverness and then away to Partick Thistle on Friday to open up a three-point gap over Celtic ahead of the title holders facing Inverness on Saturday.

“You talk about Aberdeen all the time,” Deila added. “Here at Celtic we don’t need to talk about other teams. It’s about us winning games. Whatever they do, we have to win. So it’s not good enough losing games – every week we just want to put in a performance and take three points.

“As I’ve said many times, we can start talking about whether there’s a title race or not in April. There are too many games left.”

Meanwhile, Ross County full-back Marcus Fraser could be an injury doubt for next month’s League Cup final against Hibernian after he dislocated his shoulder yesterday and was forced to make trip to hospital.

“They couldn’t manage to get it in downstairs and we’ll know how he is in the coming days but he needs stronger pain medication to get it in,” said manager Jim McIntyre.

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