Ronny Deila set to stick with Celtic midfield trio

Deila to keep faith in trusted players - like Stefan Johansen. Picture: SNS

Deila to keep faith in trusted players - like Stefan Johansen. Picture: SNS

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Celtic manager Ronny Deila insists he would be “stupid” to submit to calls from supporters to make sweeping changes to the attacking midfield 
positions in his team.

Deila has kept faith with an advanced midfield trio of Stuart Armstrong, Stefan Johansen and Gary Mackay-Steven in recent weeks, despite a growing clamour among Celtic fans for Scott Allan, Ryan Christie and Patrick Roberts to be promoted to the starting line-up.

Celtic manager Ronny Deila rejects reports that Carlton Cole is to leave the club. Picture: SNS.

Celtic manager Ronny Deila rejects reports that Carlton Cole is to leave the club. Picture: SNS.

In last Saturday’s 3-0 win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Allan, Christie and Roberts all made an impact from the bench in a much-improved second-half display by Deila’s side.

But the Norwegian suggested they will again have to be content with substitute roles when Celtic look to stretch their lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership to nine points when they face Hamilton Accies at New Douglas Park tonight.

“It’s stupid to change the whole team,” said Deila. “We are building up momentum but it’s good for me to know we have players on the bench coming on to do good things.

Deila, meanwhile, insists he is unaware of any plans to cut short Carlton Cole’s contract as the former England striker struggles to make an impact at the club.

Cole signed a deal which runs until June 2017 when he joined Celtic last October but has started just once and has not even featured as a substitute since mid-January.

“That’s news to me,” said Deila in response to a report Cole would leave at the end of the season. “It’s hard to say. All of these things will come into consideration all the time.

“He is training but there is hard competition for him as well. Right now, he has not been featuring in our matchday squad. We will see if he can take a new step and fight his way into the team.”

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