Deila hints Tyler Blackett is van Dijk replacement

Celtic have confirmed the signing of Tyler Blackett on a season-long loan deal from Manchester United. Picture: celticfc.net

Celtic have confirmed the signing of Tyler Blackett on a season-long loan deal from Manchester United. Picture: celticfc.net

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CELTIC manager Ronny Deila last night hinted that new arrival Tyler Blackett could serve as a replacement for Virgil van Dijk.

Blackett was paraded at half-time during the 3-1 win over St Johnstone after agreeing a season-long loan deal from Manchester United, and Deila said it would not be until after the transfer window closes that he will decide on where to deploy a 21-year-old who has played left-back and centre-back for United.

The uncertainty over Blackett’s deployment would appear to centre on Van Dijk’s future.

Southampton have long been reported ready to pay £10million for the Dutch centre-back, with a move believed imminent following Celtic’s failure to reach the Champions League group stages in midweek.

However, Deila would not confirm that Blackett could fill a gap created by the departure of Van Dijk. “There are four days left so we’ll see what happens,” he said.

The Celtic manager also spoke for the first time about the £500,000 bid lodged with Inverness Caledonian Thistle for 20-year-old Ryan Christie. “He’s a young player who has a bright future we think, and someone we want, but nothing is done yet.”

Meanwhile, Deila revealed that there is no issue over Scotland captain Scott Brown’s availability for the latest Euro 2016 double-header despite the midfielder being forced off with an injury yesterday.

However, Stuart Armstrong has been withdrawn from the squad after missing out yesterday with a back injury he has been carrying of late.

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