Celtic look to build on European springboard

Alistair Watson
AFP
Celtic manager Ronny Deila pictured in Tromsoe, Norway on June 4, 2014. He says consistency in team selection is key
Celtic manager Ronny Deila pictured in Tromsoe, Norway on June 4, 2014. He says consistency in team selection is key (AFP Photo/Jan-Morten Bjoernbakk)

Glasgow (AFP) - Celtic manager Ronny Deila says he is pleased with the continued improvement of his side as they prepare to face Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Saturday.

The Hoops secured a 1-1 draw with NK Maribor in Slovenia on Wednesday in the first leg of their Champions League play-off to put themselves in the driving seat in the tie.

After a shaky start to life in charge of the Glasgow giants, Deila has seen his side convincingly win their opening two Scottish Premiership fixtures while the result in midweek means they stand on the verge of progressing to the group stages of Europe's elite club competition.

"I feel we are improving all the time. It is always much better to continue improving when you're winning and getting good results. I hope we can continue but if you win or lose it's about what you can learn from it," the Norwegian manager said.

"Also, from Wednesday there is a lot to improve. It was very positive but we have to do even more. That's how we're going to work -- to always show the positives but improve the small things and then we will be a very good team."

Next up for Celtic is a trip away to Inverness.

John Hughes' side top the Scottish Premiership by a point, albeit Celtic have played a game fewer.

Deila insists his side will be fully focussed on the match but with the return leg with NK Maribor three days later the Celtic boss suggested he may rotate his squad for the match in the Highlands.

"We have a big squad so it is important to use it. That's one of the big advantages we have," the Celtic manager said.

"We have 25 players that can play top level and that's something we have to use so we will see what team we pick for Saturday but I know, whatever team we pick, it's going to be a good team.

"I have to say Inverness is the most important thing and only after that game we can think of the next.

"I have a lot of games in my head at the same time but I think as a team it's important that we concentrate on the first game coming and that's on Saturday.

"Inverness are a good, organised team. They are a small club with a good coach, but we have seen a lot of their matches. They play football and in defence they work hard for each other.

"We need to get a high tempo in the game and be 100 per cent aware to break them down."

Dundee United will attempt to get over last week's thrashing by Celtic when they host Ross County, who are still without a win, at Tannadice.

St Mirren will attempt to pick up their first points of the season when they welcome Dundee to Paisley, newly promoted will try to continue their good start to life in the Premiership when they take on Partick Thistle, St Johnstone host Aberdeen at McDiarmid Park and Motherwell make the trip to Rugby Park to face Kilmarnock.

Fixtures (1400GMT unless otherwise stated)

Saturday

Inverness CT v Celtic (1130), Dundee Utd v Ross County, Kilmarnock v Motherwell, Partick Thistle v Hamilton, St Johnstone v Aberdeen, St Mirren v Dundee