sport

Celtic chief defends Deila

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell says he has "every confidence" in manager Ronny Deila.

Deila failed to make the most of their Champions League reprieve this week when defeat to Maribor consigned Celtic to a season in the Europa League.

In the wake of that defeat Sky Sports pundit Andy Walker questioned the Norwegian's appointment, while Charlie Nicholas accused the club's board of a lack of investment.

But Lawwell insists it is "a myth" that Celtic's owners are "sitting on piles of cash" and has backed Deila to be a long-term success.

He said: "We can't panic, we've got to keep the head for the longer term. You need time in a period of transition and you've got to make allowances for a new manager. Nothing prepares you for the Celtic job.

"We have the Europa League and we need to do the best we can and we have a (domestic) treble to go for. We have to do the best thing for the club and its supporters for the longer term.

"He has new ideas, new philosophies and he still has the transfer window in terms of brining in players. There has been an awful lot to deal with.

"We have every confidence in him and we will back him like we backed all our other managers here, financially and with every support he can get and I am sure he will build a team we will all be proud of."

Celtic have brought in goalkeeper Craig Gordon on a free this summer and secured loan deals for Jason Denayer, Jo Inge Berget, Aleksandar Tonev and Wakaso Mubarak.

And addressing criticism of the board Lawwell said: "We are well-known as being one of the best run clubs in Europe if not the world.

"Over the last 11 years we have been in the group stages of the Champions League seven times, the last-16 three times, and if we win the title this year it is eight titles in that time. Over that period, at the same time, the second and third largest clubs in Scotland (Rangers and Hearts) have gone bust.

"So for a club like Celtic, operating in Scotland with the financial constraints, it is a myth that we don't invest in the club and it is also a myth that we are sitting on piles of cash. That is not the case.

"We will put everything into the club that comes in, that is the commitment to the supporters. Every penny is invested, you can't invest more than everything. But we won't put the long-term future of the club at risk."