sport

Deila praises Collins

Ronny Deila is delighted to have lured former Celtic midfielder John Collins to the club as his assistant manager.

Deila left Stromgodset a fortnight ago to take the reins at Celtic following Neil Lennon's unexpected departure after four years in charge.

The Norwegian has wasted no time in appointing Collins as his right-hand man and hailed the former Scotland international's capture as a coup for the champions.

\"I'm very pleased to get him here because he was a very good footballer and he has a very good knowledge of the game,\" Deila said.

\"He knows Scottish football very well and he's been a professional abroad out in France so he knows the European culture and he knows the standard of the Champions League.

\"He knows Scottish players and the Scottish league and also he knows Celtic inside and out and loves the club.\"

Deila said Collins' appointment had been his own choice adding that the former Hibernian and Charleroi manager possessed the sort of fighting spirit required to take the club forward.

\"He has great views on the game, similar to my own, and also he is a very strong person,\" the 38-year-old said. \"I want strong people around me who can give me fight so that we can improve the team.

\"I love strong personalities and I want knowledge around me. If you are a good leader you can handle that, if you are a bad leader you need staff who just talk with their mouths. I want staff that really have a good knowledge of the game and really have an opinion so it's going to be good.

\"When we started talking, we didn't stop and I think we are going to have many good discussions.\"

The first league fixture for the new managerial team is a trip to McDiarmid Park to face Scottish Cup holders St Johnstone.

Celtic have a Champions League qualifier before that and Deila revealed he is looking forward to working with and getting to know his players.

\"It's going to be a good game at St Johnstone the cup winners,\" he added. \"But first we have the Champions League so we start with that. We're going to do everything we can to be well prepared. The squad has been together for many years and we are going to use the time we have now to really get into each other and get to know one another.

\"But at the beginning we need to build on the things s that Neil did so well last year. If we are going to make some changes we are going to do it over time.\"

Meanwhile, Deila, who was speaking ahead of this year's Glasgow Taxis Outing for Sick Children, which was supported by Celtic with a 7,000 donation, rubbished suggestions of a rift between Collins and club captain Scott Brown.

In 2007, Brown was part of a Hibs team allegedly upset at Collins' training methods and team selection despite the new Celtic assistant delivering the League Cup to Easter Road.

"I talked with Scott about what I'm thinking of doing and we have agreed on everything, "said Deila .

"If they had something in the past, they are grown-up people and I know there is going to be no trouble.

"It is the same with John and me. We need strong personalities, we need many opinions and we have to handle them in a good way and then we will progress and produce good results for Celtic.

"Scott is a fantastic captain so of course he will be captain this season."