RONNY Deila has an enviable scouting apparatus at his disposal this summer as he attempts to put his own imprint on Celtic.
That is the view of Peter Houston, who was appointed Falkirk manager this week after spending the last eight months working under John Park as part of the Parkhead side's recruitment department.
While Houston's departure came just days after the arrival of the 38-year-old Norwegian, the pair chatted cordially over lunch at Parkhead last week, and Deila may yet have cause to be thankful for the work of the former Dundee United manager. While Delia is likely to have his own targets, Houston feels he has a veritable football encyclopedia at his finger tips. His own job description was to provide a preliminary scouting report on prospective targets flagged up to Park and his assistants, refining the list of players in every position which should go forward to be assessed by the manager.
"I think Ronny will try to assess his squad very quickly," said Houston. "If Ronny says he needs a No 10, a right-back or a left winger, then the information is there for him. He will have a choice, a list of the good points and bad points and then he can send someone to see the player.
"That's the beauty of being at such a big club with resources to match. He will be looking at the European side because he wants to do well in the Champions League. I was asked to watch the targets they'd picked out and in the eight months I was there, I think I was in 14 countries, watching different targets.
"Celtic can afford to do that and John Park runs a great department. The knowledge he will get from the guys who work in the office and do the analysis is incredible. They will tell you what age a player is, or that he is not out of contract until 2017. It is like an encyclopedia.
"The first thing I did was look through the target list these guys had and I narrowed it. One or two of the boys there hadn't played at senior level and they would say 'what do you not like about him?' From my experiences in football I would tell them 'he didn't defend that, or he should be tighter there'. So hopefully they have learned a bit more about the football tactical side from my experiences. But there is great back-up, good people working in there, and Ronny will be helped big time.
"When I went back these younger guys who work in the office doing the analysis were firing up the footage of the Celtic players for him just to let him know them better."
While Houston clearly felt the tug to return to a club he left 18 years ago - his presence promises to be another eye-catching addition to next season's championship - he rejected the claim he could have been in the frame for the Parkhead assistant manager's post, either under old boss Neil Lennon or Deila himself. "I was never asked and I was never spoken to," he said. "I think they wanted to change the whole thing completely."
The links Houston has established at Parkhead could yet pay off for Falkirk in the form of loan signings. "I'll not be shy!" he said. "If I thought there were any there who might improve this team I think the response would be favourable."