Ronny Deila sets Celtic domestic clean sweep goal

RONNY Deila has targeted the “tough goals” of a domestic clean sweep and Champions League qualification for Celtic this season.

Celtic manager, Ronny Deila. Picture: John Devlin
Celtic manager, Ronny Deila. Picture: John Devlin

The Norwegian took over from Neil Lennon last summer and won the Scottish Premiership and Scottish League Cup double but only after failing twice to reach the group stages of European club football’s elite competition.

Celtic were beaten 6-1 on aggregate by Legia Warsaw but were reinstated after the Polish club were thrown out for an administrative error, only to then lose to Slovenian outfit Maribor in the play-off.

The Hoops host Icelandic side Stjarnan in the first leg of their opening Champions League qualifying tie at Parkhead on Wednesday night where Deila is looking for an even more successful season to begin.

“The goals are the same as they were last year,” said the former Stromsgodset boss.

“We want to get into the Champions League, we want to win everything in Scotland.

“We want to improve the culture and the players individually and as a team so we can play exciting football.

“They are tough goals but you have to put tough goals on a fantastic club.

“That is what we are aiming for and we will see what we get.

“The most important thing is winning the league so we keep on being in Europe but of course, if we can get into the Champions League, that is a very important goal for us.

“It (group stages) is a step forward. That is the first target. If we get in we can talk about the next step. But now it is all about the qualification and getting in.”

After a year in the job Deila is much more confident of taking on the task that lies ahead.

“When I came in I didn’t know anything about my team, almost,” he said.

“I didn’t know so much about my opponents, it was a new style, a new level - everything.

“We have played 12/14 games in Europe and those experiences will make me, the whole team and the whole club more prepared this time.

“So I am looking forward to a big challenge.”

Skipper Scott Brown believes Celtic are in good shape to make up for their Champions League failure last season.

“We have to try to push into the group stages,” said the Scotland captain.

“It was hard last season, we got a couple of chances but still didn’t make it so this season we need to try to put it right.

“Getting to the group stage for this club is where we should be.

“We are more prepared, more settled, we know the way the gaffer wants us to play so we are more organised.”

Deila has four new signings at his disposal - striker Nadir Ciftci, right-back Saidy Janko, defender Dedryck Boyata and goalkeeper Logan Bailly - but hinted that there could be more to come before the transfer window closes.

He said: “I think we have a very strong squad but it is a never-ending story.

“It is about players coming in and out but we have to have stability and consistency in the squad and that is what we have.

“We have added some players who will add something to the squad so I am very happy with the situation but we always try to stay on the front foot and see what is out there.”