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Deila: 'We have done it before and we can do it again'

Thank goodness for those boolers, dookers and, er, judo-ers.

Celtic manager Ronny Deila still confident as his team prepare for showdown with Legia Warsaw. Picture: SNS
Celtic manager Ronny Deila still confident as his team prepare for showdown with Legia Warsaw. Picture: SNS

"See Celtic got horsed in Europe . . . but what aboot yon 'Tattie' Marshall, eh?"

The welter of Commonwealth Games feel-good factors last week meant it was the ideal few days to bury bad news. There will be no hiding place for Celtic this week though, even along the M8 in Auld Reekie.

It didn't take long for the word "crisis" to be attached to Ronny Deila's brief managerial reign, and the crippling 4-1 thrashing by Legia Warsaw in the first leg of the Champions League qualifier has already heaped a hefty clump of pressure on to the Norwegian's shoulders.

It was far from polished in Poland as Celtic suffered a desperate defeat. The lucrative gravy train of Europe's premier club contest is in danger of hurtling by. But Deila remains optimistic that the Scottish champions can still be dipping their bread in it this season.

At Murrayfield, the home of Scottish rugby, Celtic need to conjure something of a miracle but, should the worst happen, the man in the hot seat is prepared to take the devastating blow on the chin. Others may not be quite as accepting of that mournful fate.

"First of all, we have to have a good performance," said Deila after a training session in which the recuperating James Forrest took part. "If we have a good performance but don't win 3-0 then, okay, we have to get on with that. But if we get a good performance I think it's possible.

"We have done it before and when we get the crowd on our side - as they did against us in Poland - we can do it. They could get stressed and we could score the three goals. We are never going to give up and we know the players have had magic nights before at Celtic. That's why we can do it again.

"The consequences [of defeat] are what we have to work on. We are out and we have to go into the Europa League. It's not the end of the world. I can't understand why people would think that. I understand that people went crazy about the performance last week because it was too much. But losing games? That happens.

"I can accept losing if the opponent is better than us. This time they were quite a good team, but it was too easy for them. That's what I want to do something about. It's all about what you learn from it. It's hard coming in here and performing a miracle in four weeks. I need time like everyone else."

Time is not a luxury often granted in the frenzied world of football. Last week's whipping in Warsaw, which at times bordered on the shambolic, led to many questioning Deila's expansive approach and tactical nous. There wasn't much of a case for the defence as the goals poured in, but the 38-year-old remains defiant.

"I can't play football the way it was before," he added. "That was under a different manager and I have to do things my way. I know how I want to have my team and I will never change. I will go on and go on and it will always be like that. But we have to improve from the level we showed on Wednesday.

"There are some things I think we can change very quickly and it's all to do with energy and pressing the ball for 90 minutes. If we do that and stay compact for 90 minutes then we know we have enough skills to create opportunities to win the game."

Deila has expressed his concerns over a particularly robust pre-season schedule and the opportunity for a few players to put their feet up while a second-string was going down 6-1 to Spurs in Finland at the weekend, has been welcomed.

"The legs feel good and the energy is on top now," admitted Deila's compatriot, Stefan Johansen, as he backed the manager's decision to rest a host of first-team members. "It was up to the manager [to rest players] and I think this time it was the right thing to do."

Johansen's memories of European comebacks may not be of the miraculous variety but they provide optimism. During his time under Deila at Stromsgodset, the Norwegian's drew 2-2 at home with Hungarian outfit Debrecen before romping to a 3-0 victory in the away leg. Celtic need to score at least three in their temporary home tonight.

"Celtic came back last year against Shakhtar Karagandy, so we believe and the group is very positive," he added. "I worked with Ronny for two years at Stromsgodset and I know what he is capable of. Celtic is a big club and has much more pressure, but it takes time."

The pressure will be on tonight and, should Celtic pull off a remarkable salvage operation, then Deila has no doubts about where it would rank on his list of lifetime highs.

"It would be one of the best nights of my life if we could go through," he admitted. "I have daughters, but they are twins . . . so that counts as the same night."

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