RONNY DEILA admitted yesterday that his Celtic side is now within touching distance of the prize which was driven him all season, the Scottish Premiership title.


The Celtic manager believes a win at home to Partick Thistle tonight will be an important milestone in helping the champions to their fourth successive honour, just four days after Alan Archibald's side dented Aberdeen's ambitions by drawing at Pittodrie.

Deila is eager to embrace the most satisfying part of his job, celebrating success, as soon as possible. "I feel good energy and we're working well together, it's fun," said Deila yesterday. "I want to win more trophies and hopefully we can collect them.

"I see now it's coming to the end of the season and there are only nine matches left to play. This game is important. A victory and we are really close to winning the title. Partick are one of the best teams right now, that's why it's such a tough challenge for us."

As Celtic's impressive performances since the turn of the year have proved, Deila's players have now bought into the Norwegian's philosophy. However, the manager admits that his own learning curve in the 'Scottish' way, was equally testing.

"I've never been a good learner in language, but now I feel more comfortable with the vocabulary, I feel I can express myself better," said Deila. "Before it was always the same words I was using.

"For the first three weeks, just to get on with work, all I did was try to listen to what people say for five hours. When I got home, I was totally gone. I was so tired because I was sitting there all the time thinking 'what is he really saying?' Scott Brown is one of the hardest. He talks so quick. Half the time I just try to laugh at the right moments! But I am getting to understand more.

"I have to admit the first six months were tough mentally because you have to really learn a lot of new things. Now I'm in a very good place which is why I'm saying I'm enjoying the moments right now and looking forward to the games because we have built the foundation and now the fun part is starting.

"Such as, building relationships into the team and get the systems even better and quicker, like our first goal against St Mirren. We've been training a long time for that. These moments give me energy and we just have to do that even more and then it's going to be tough to stop us.

"There was a period when I doubted whether I wanted to do it. If it's only about results it's not fun. If I have to go in and think 'I can`t make mistakes today,' there`s no development there. But we`ve got past that stage. We have so much I want to do still and that makes me excited."

Deila said in an interview with BT Sport last Friday that Rangers still cannot be considered top-flight material when they are in the second tier. "I just said the best teams are in the top league so if Rangers go up they are good enough and it's going to be some exciting games," explained Deila.

"If they are not good enough then we cannot force them to be. Yes, you have to admit (Rangers matches) it's special. That will add something to the league but, again, it's about quality in the end and the best teams have to be in the top."

Deila also insisted that any new signings he makes this summer will be less of a priority than keeping the players he has at Celtic, such as Virgil van Dijk. The Celtic manager said he would not be concerned if he has not been able to buy anyone before the Champions League qualifying round ties in July. "I think if we can keep everybody, then that is better than having to bring in three new players," said Deila.