DCSIMG

John Collins in the frame as Celtic No 2

John Collins has managerial experience in the Scottish game. Picture: Kenny Smith

John Collins has managerial experience in the Scottish game. Picture: Kenny Smith

  • by ALAN PATTULLO
 

CELTIC will begin talks with a view to appointing an assistant for Ronny Deila at the start of next week, with the new manager confirming that former Hibernian manager John Collins is among the candidates.

Deila revealed that he would not be joined by any backroom staff members from previous club Stromsgodset. He acknowledged that he would need to recruit someone with more detailed knowledge of Scottish football than he possesses at the moment.

“I know the teams of course. I know their names,” the 38 year-old said, when asked how much he knows about the Scottish game.

Deila admitted that it would be wise to seek assistance from someone who is better acquainted with football in this country, although he stressed he was preparing to start work immediately in order to bring himself up to speed.

“We have three or four candidates and Ronny’s confirmed he’s one of the candidates,” added chief executive Peter Lawwell, with reference to Collins, the former Celtic midfielder who is currently working for the Scottish Football Association as a youth advisor. “But we’ll just need to wait and see.

“I think it needs someone who knows what Inverness is like and the trip up there at 12:15 on a Sunday,” added Lawwell. “Somebody who knows Scottish football, I think, would be a big requirement of a number two. We need to really start the process.”

Lawwell also confirmed that former Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon is close to signing for the champions, after impressing in training.

“He came, he trained with us and was excellent,” said Lawwell. “[Goalkeeper coach] Stevie Woods couldn’t have spoken highly enough of him. We’re just going through discussions with his agent at the moment.”

The 31-year-old has not played senior football for two years due to injury, after being released by Sunderland. He has also been linked with a return to football at Hearts and Rangers.

Deila said he was well aware of Gordon’s talents as the former Scotland international moves nearer to becoming the first signing of the new manager’s tenure.

Regarding other posts at the club, including the future for those such as Woods, Deila said he would not be rushing into any decisions.

“I just met Steven today and I am here to create things together with people,” he said. “We have to get to know each other and take it from there.”

Deila was also relaxed about speculation linking Forster and defender Virgil van Dijk with moves away from Celtic.

“It’s not a fear, it’s football,” he said. “We always have to be one head in front. If that’s happening, then I want a new one to take his job. But of course we want to have good players here and I want those two to stay here to be part of the team here so we can do good things.”

 

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