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Deila must show Celtic players that he is a man with a plan

TO be beaten once is bad enough.

But after losing twice in a week Celtic will be hurting and should have a real edge to them when they face Dundee at Dens Park today.

Ronny Deila is certain to field a full-strength team so it is going to be a difficult game for the hosts, but they need look no further than Inverness Caledonian Thistle's win over the Parkhead club last week for inspiration.

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Dundee have brought nothing but positivity to the SPFL Premiership so far. They have brought a freshness to the division and another noisy home crowd will roar them on today.

Paul Hartley would have bitten your hand off for the three draws and a win they have taken from their four games to date. They have a good mix of youth and experience, the latter coming from the likes of Gary Harkins, Paul McGowan, Jim McAlister and Kevin McBride.

Dundee don't want to end up as a yo-yo team and if they can stay up this year - which I believe they will - the money they will make can give them a bit of stability.

I watched them last week against St Mirren and I have to say Paul has done a good job.

He has succeeded as a manager at the coal face with Alloa and I love to see people who get success by grafting their way up.

I wouldn't regard his Dundee side as a flair team. They are more about hard work and that comes directly from their manager. Paul always had a real work ethic and determination about him as a player.

Celtic, on the other hand, have huge questions to answer. Let's be honest about it. The fans aren't daft and they have some valid criticisms. The players have to look at their performances and I think the staff have to look at theirs too.

Against Maribor last Tuesday night, Celtic started off trying to defend an away goal, then proceeded to attack, and it didn't really make any sense to me.

I know what it is like to make instant decisions amid huge pressure and have them second-guessed, but maybe Ronny Deila is thinking right now that he should have tinkered with the shape.

Kris Commons doesn't always work hard enough, but Neil Lennon played him as a lone striker and sometimes you need to just make sure he is in the team.

Things certainly aren't as bad (yet) as they were during the Paul Le Guen era at Rangers - I still think Deila is capable of being a good Celtic manager in the long-term - but he needs to prove in the next few weeks that he knows how he wants the team to play.

I thought he had nailed it against Dundee United when his ultra-attacking, pressing game led to a 6-1 win. I know he couldn't do that in the first leg against Maribor - I don't blame him for sitting off in that game - but where was that pressing style against Inverness or Maribor at home?

As much as the players are under- performing - the likes of Efe Ambrose and Emilio Izaguirre were atrocious - I have the feeling that they are getting mixed messages from the coaching staff. Are we going to press today, or are we going to sit off? I think Deila has to show his players that the style isn't going to change week in, week out.

As for the board, I don't criticise them for getting a few signings wrong, because you are always going to make good ones and bad ones. I have a lot of time for Peter Lawwell. I've met him on a few occasions and really like the guy, but sometimes he has to hold his hands up.

The Celtic fans didn't want to see the wage structure blown, they just wanted Lawwell to meet them somewhere in the middle. If they had taken a wee gamble and bought a £4 million player it wouldn't have crippled them financially.

Signing Stefan Scepovic now is too little, too late. If they are going to sign somebody for £2.3m or so, they should do it before their Champions League qualifiers.

After what happened against Legia Warsaw, they really had to bring somebody in before the Maribor tie. There are no guarantees in life, but with another couple of quality players in I am sure Celtic would have beaten the Slovenians. For a man who counts every penny, it must be sticking in Lawwell's throat that such an average side have cost Celtic £15m by denying them a place at Europe's top table.

IWAS surprised and yet not surprised to see Ross County sack Derek and George Adams this week. While Derek and I didn't always see eye-to-eye when we were coaching against each other in the First Division, you have to admire the job he did in Dingwall.

I was surprised with the timing, coming immediately after he won a midweek League Cup tie following four defeats in the Premiership.

But I am not surprised that County want to try another direction. Chairman Roy MacGregor had said publicly that he wanted to try to get their identity back, and for the bulk of their players to be home-grown.

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