CELTIC boss Ronny Deila has offered his apologies to Dundee United counterpart Jackie McNamara who has criticised his conduct in the Gary Mackay-Steven deal.
The 24-year-old Tannadice winger last week signed a pre-contract agreement which will see him join the Hoops in the summer.
To McNamara’s ire, Deila spoke publicly of taking him during the transfer window, although the reported fee of £250,000 is a stumbling block.
The former Parkhead defender said: “I like to speak about players behind the scenes and I don’t think it’s right to speak publicly about it. He (Deila) has his own way of doing things but I wouldn’t want to speak about one of his players under contract.”
Ahead of the visit of Motherwell on Wednesday, where Celtic will leapfrog Aberdeen to the top of the Scottish Premiership table with a win, the Norwegian appeared somewhat surprised by McNamara’s complaint but was suitably contrite.
“I just have to say sorry if that offended him in any way,” he said. “This is a rule that I haven’t heard before so I have to learn from this.
“I was at a smaller cub in Norway and everybody wanted my players all the time. But I am happy that they want my players because (that means) I did something well.
“But if he didn’t like it I have to apologise for that and think about it the next time.”
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Before the McNamara question was posed, Deila responded to a question about possibly bringing the Scotland cap in before the transfer window closed.
He said: “We will see what is happening. We know we have him in the summer.
“It is not in our hands. Dundee United are doing well so I understand they want to keep their squad together.”
While looking forward to the addition of Mackay-Steven to his squad, Deila is no further forward in persuading Kris Commons to sign a new deal.
The 31-year-old Hoops midfielder, out of contract at the end of the season, threw his boots into the Celtic fans following the 2-0 win over Hamilton at New Douglas Park on Saturday, suggesting that he could be on his way, with Bolton - managed by former Celtic boss Neil Lennon - a possible destination.
Deila played the boots symbolism down, saying: “I haven’t seen the footage but I haven’t thought about it. This is something big for you, not so big for me.
“I know what is going on and will see what is happening. We are speaking together, we want him to stay here and he wants to stay.”
Deila was in the directors’ box at Ibrox on Friday night to see League Cup semi-final opponents Rangers play Championship rivals Hearts.
However, he left without learning too much after the game was abandoned after 24 minutes due to the unplayable pitch.
Deila arrived at the ground while there was a demonstration by Gers fans outside the main door against the board, which allowed the former Stromsgodset boss to slip in unnoticed.
He said: “It went well. I seems there are bigger problems there than me.”
On the subject of their traditional rivals, Deila was asked about predecessor Martin O’Neill’s comments in which he claimed the top-flight in Scotland has suffered from the absence of Rangers.
The Hoops boss said: “I have answered many times. The best clubs are in the top division.
“At the minute, the teams who are in the Premiership are the best clubs.”
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