Ronny Deila looking forward to Rangers' top flight return

Ronny Deila has welcomed the increasingly likely presence of Rangers in the Premiership next season and believes it will be beneficial for Celtic and the rest of the top-flight clubs in Scotland.

Ronny Deila believes Rangers' return would be good for the whole of the Scottish Premiership. Picture: SNS
Ronny Deila believes Rangers' return would be good for the whole of the Scottish Premiership. Picture: SNS

Rangers are now 11 points clear of Hibs at the top of the Championship, with a far superior goal difference to the Easter Road side, and appear near-certainties to win the title and secure the automatic promotion place.

Celtic manager Deila has faced Rangers just once since taking charge of the Scottish champions almost two years ago, enjoying a comfortable 2-0 win against them in last season’s League Cup semi-final at Hampden.

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The prospect of regular league fixtures against the Ibrox side, absent from the top flight since their financial collapse in 2012, is relished by Deila, who feels Rangers will bring greater interest and attention to the Premiership.

“It is a big club and if or when they go up, they deserve to be there,” said Deila.

“It’s going to be an even more interesting league. Of course it will bring more spotlight on Scottish football. It will be good for the whole league.”

Deila remains on course to lead Celtic to their fifth consecutive Scottish title, and the second of his tenure, as they currently hold a six-point lead over Aberdeen at the top of the table.

The Pittodrie club are the only side to have provided even the semblance of a genuine title challenge to Celtic in the absence of the Old Firm rivalry.

But Deila is uncertain whether Rangers would pose a greater threat to Celtic’s domination if they are promoted this summer.

“It might mean us being pushed more,” added Deila. “Hopefully not! But we will need to wait and see.”

Deila, meanwhile, has dismissed the claim from his Rangers counterpart Mark Warburton that he was disrespectful towards the Englishman with his contribution last week to the ongoing debate over the use of artificial pitches in Scottish football.

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Warburton has been the most strident critic of the surfaces, calling for them to be banned from elite football in Scotland.

Deila, however, has no objections to synthetic pitches if they are of sufficiently high quality and revealed he would not oppose the potential installation of one at Celtic Park.

The Norwegian also described the case against them as “very old fashioned”. That comment irked Warburton who accused Deila of being “disrespectful”.

But the Celtic manager insists there was nothing personal towards Warburton in his remarks and he remains convinced artificial pitches will become increasingly prevalent in the future of football.

“That was not [directed at him],” said Deila with regard to his ‘very old fashioned’ comment. “I have my view on artificial pitches. Others have other views on them. I wasn’t talking about his comments beforehand, it was just about artificial pitches. I think in 15 or 20 years’ time, it’s going to be a lot different to what it is now.”