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Deila: No new players in time for qualifiers

RONNY DEILA, the Celtic manager, does not expect to add to his squad ahead of their opening Champions League qualifier next month.

Celtic manager admits he is unlikely to add to squad before KR Reykjavik tie
Celtic manager admits he is unlikely to add to squad before KR Reykjavik tie

The Parkhead club will face KR Reykjavik of Iceland in the second qualifying round, with the first leg taking place at Murrayfield on July 15 or 16 and the return a week later. Deila's first match in charge, then, will take place in Edinburgh, with Celtic Park out of commission due to the Commonwealth Games.

The majority of the Celtic players return for pre-season training today, giving Deila the chance to fully assess his squad for the first time. At this juncture he does not anticipate bringing in new faces before the meeting with the Icelandic champions.

"I don't think it will happen, I think it will take a little more time," he said. "I haven't seen so much [of the players at the club] but I've seen all the stats, there's a very good analysis centre here. I've seen every goal chance, every goal scored and conceded - I know all that."

Deila hopes to get a chance to look around Murrayfield before Celtic depart on their pre-season tour of Austria next week but revealed there would be no opportunity to arrange a friendly game there ahead of the Champions League tie. The Norwegian, though, felt that having to play at the home of Scottish rugby should not be viewed as a negative.

"Murrayfield will be something different," he added. "It's a big stadium, the pitch is going to be good, and it will be different for our fans as well. You have to look at it in a positive way. We can't always look at things negatively. It is still our home game and we will have a lot of fans there. It's very important that as many fans as possible come to the games to get a good home atmosphere. We have to just prepare with the circumstances that we have."

On Reykjavik, Deila was respectful but acknowledged Celtic would be favourites to progress.

"Icelandic football has improved a lot in the last few years. They are hard-working players with a good team spirit. They will be well-organised too. But we are Celtic.

"We should be a better team than them over two matches. Now it's all about doing everything right in pre-season to get the squad as best physically and mentally prepared for these games."

Scotland's other European representatives also discovered their fate yesterday. Aberdeen will take on Daugava Riga of Latvia in the first qualifying round of the Europa League and then meet FC Groningen of the Netherlands if they progress.

Motherwell will play Bangor City of Wales or Stjarnan of Iceland in the second qualifying round, while St Johnstone take on Swiss side Luzern.

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