CELTIC manager Ronny Deila has insisted he has no intention of off-loading Leigh Griffiths during the current transfer window.
The Scotland striker has been the subject of rumours linking him with yet another loan move to Hibs amid speculation he may not fit into Deila’s plans for the Scottish champions.
But the Norwegian has dismissed those suggestions, labelling Griffiths as the best finisher he has ever seen and outlining his intention to ensure the 23-year-old adapts successfully to his tactical attacking strategy at Celtic.
“Leigh has a future here,” said Deila. “He is a player who wants to be here and a player we want.
“He is working hard every day. He is the best shooter I have ever seen, the best finisher. He should be a kicker in American football. Unbelievable.
“I’m very into relations in the team. They have to play together in attack and know the strength of each other and make space for each other, think three together instead of one. That’s the big challenge for the forwards.
“They are used to playing like James Forrest, for example. He is one against one, then he will pass it. That’s a good start, but I want two against one, or three against two. They have to start thinking together.
“To adapt to this is maybe different from what they are used to. It will take time. But when people are thinking together, they get a lot of movements and it is easier to open defences.”
Griffiths is back in the Celtic squad for their first home league match of the season against Dundee United today, having been left out of the squad for Wednesday night’s 3-0 win at St Johnstone because of illness.
Deila has issued a pledge to the Celtic support that they will see a team relentlessly committed to attacking football at home this season, regardless of results.
“We have better players than the other teams in Scotland so we don’t play at Celtic Park and just sit back,” he said. “Then there would be something wrong. Then you are afraid to lose. I am not afraid to lose. I would rather lose than play bad football. You will never see my team play with no pressure at home. The best defence is to keep the ball. Then you don’t get attacked. We need to be the better passers. That’s the main thing.
“At home Celtic must go out and attack. When you meet the very good teams like Barcelona I understand you have to defend. But when we play in the league, every time we go out onto the pitch we will play to entertain.”
Meanwhile, The Court Of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will hear Legia Warsaw’s appeal against the punishment that led to Celtic’s reinstatement in the Champions League on Monday, with a decision being made on the same day.
While the Polish club left their appeal until late in the day, their decision to press ahead ensured a further three-day wait before Celtic will know whether their play-off clash with Maribor in Slovenia next Wednesday will definitely go ahead.
On Thursday, Uefa’s appeals body upheld the decision by its disciplinary body to award Celtic the 3-0 second-leg win but the CAS said last night: “We registered today at 17.30 a statement of appeal filed by the Polish club Legia Warszawa against the decision of the Uefa appeals body confirming the result 3-0 (forfeit) in favour of Celtic FC against Legia in the second leg of the third qualifying round of the Uefa Champions League.
“Legia requests urgent provisional measures from CAS allowing the Polish club to participate in the play-offs of the Champions League.
“The CAS has immediately initiated an arbitration procedure and the respondents Uefa and Celtic FC have been invited to file written observations.
“A decision on request for provisional measures is likely to be issued on Monday 18 August around 18.00 (Swiss time).”