RONNY Deila has declared he is indifferent towards Aberdeen’s title challenge and remains certain Celtic will again prove superior to the Pittodrie side this season.
Aberdeen have made a record-breaking start to the current campaign, racking up eight consecutive victories so far.
That sequence included their 2-1 home win over Celtic two weeks ago which has allowed them to open up a five-point lead over the champions.
Aberdeen suffered their first domestic setback of the season on Wednesday night when they were knocked out of the League Cup in the third round with a 2-0 loss to Hibs at Easter Road.
Celtic manager Deila believes the level of competition his team face in the Scottish Premiership is improving but insists it is still too soon to assess whether Derek McInnes’ men present a greater threat than last year when there was a 17-point gap between the clubs at the top of the table.
“We just have to focus on what we can do, I can’t do anything about Aberdeen and I don’t care either,” said Deila.
“We follow what they are doing, of course, but I know that if I get the best out of my team, we can be better than Aberdeen.
“I want to win the league. It’s not about them, it’s about us.
“I’m always into whether my team is doing well or getting better. If we are doing that and getting results, then we will see how good the others are,” added Deila.
“So I don’t care about what they [Aberdeen] are doing. I care about what I can do something with and that’s getting my team to be as good as possible. We work really hard to confront the players on what they can do better.
“The competition is getting better and better and that’s a positive thing. But it’s still early to say, we will know better when we come to the end of the season. Aberdeen have started very well and if they continue that way, then we won’t make it because they will have won every game! We just have to get better than them.
“There will always be questions, that’s how it is. But I know it is about being focused on the long term. We have a lot of experience in doing that and we have a very strong team. That makes it very positive for everyone.”
The next phase of the title race sees Celtic welcome Hearts to Parkhead tomorrow, while Aberdeen will attempt to preserve their 100 per cent league record away to Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
While Deila appreciates the incessant demands of his job, where even a single defeat can take on the proportions of a mini-crisis for Celtic, he is determined to ensure his players look beyond the results they achieve.
The Norwegian feels the development of players in Scotland continues to be hampered by short-term thinking, something he is trying to address at Celtic in tandem with delivering the consistent flow of trophies required to keep him in the job.
“There’s too much results-obsessed thinking in this country, in my opinion,” observed Deila. “Everyone is thinking about winning, winning, winning and playing every week because that is what they’re taught. You have to win, you have to play all the time. But real winners are thinking ‘How do we win?’ and ‘How do I get better?’ And then they do something with it.
“That’s the culture I want at Celtic and that is so much improved already. The players are thinking, they are making their own choices and they get knowledge about everything they need to do to be successful in football.
“Then they have to experience things and go through bad times like when you lose against Aberdeen. How do you bounce back? What did you learn from it and what do you do so that it doesn’t happen again?
“In my time here I can’t remember losing many times in a row, so something is positive here. The players are learning all the time.”