DON’T mention the treble. Ronny Deila has more than once and he’s hoping he's got away with it.

Before a ball was kicked this season, Celtic’s manager addressed the media for the first time that summer and put forward his ambitions for the upcoming campaign. A domestic clean sweep and the Champions League group stages.

One down as in it can't happen and three more to go. Deila didn’t see his side going out to lesser opposition in Europe, but they did, and probably couldn’t predict having to put up with, so far, a strong challenge from the north east.

It would be wrong to say Celtic should win the treble because while the league in all honesty is theirs to lose, there is enough talent around our game to prevent them from success in either domestic knock-out competition, although it would be a huge surprise if they do not retain the League cup now Aberdeen are out.

Deila’s language has changed a little in recent weeks and this is welcome. No longer is he intimating that it would be a disaster if Celtic did not win all domestic honours, which he was doing even if he did not mean to do so, and instead is hammering home the message that such achievements are not so easy to come by, even when you are by some distance the strongest squad in the country.

“You just need to look at history to see how hard it is,” said Deila. “It is very, very hard. We just have to be focused and determined in every game.

“If you give just 10 per cent less, you can lose games and lose the treble. You can see it in England, Spain or Scotland - wherever you go. Football is about small margins. Everything can happen if you are not switched on.

“There was a lot of talk about the treble last year and I’ve said the whole time that we want to win everything. That’s our goal but we know it is so hard.

“For us now, it is important to focus on the next game. There are so many games left, it is too early to talk about the treble. It’s the same with talking about who is going to win the league - there are still 30 matches left.

“We have to keep our focus on the next match and see where it takes us. We can win every game we go into and that’s a good feeling.”

This realism does not mean that Deila has changes his goals. Far from it. Indeed, the desire to win everything is as strong as ever. It’s just it comes with a reminder about who tricky this will be.

“I haven’t changed. I will always say that’s our goal at a club like this,” said Deila. “I’ll always say we are going to win the league. Because if you say you are going to be number two, you will be number two.

“I always set high goals and there is no changing that. But you saw last year how close we were to the treble and it was small details that can ruin it.

“Last year, it was a decision in the Scottish Cup semi-final which was very important. But maybe we also had some luck with us in other games, like against Dundee United earlier. So it can happen both ways.

“It is so hard to win the treble but it is possible to do it because it has been done before. But for me just now, we are just happy to improve as a team all the time and see where that leads us. We can win every game we are going into, that’s a good feeling. That’s in Europe as well.”

Something that has been mentioned, certainly among the supporters, is Deila's reluctance to play with two strikers. The 4-2-3-1 system which he does not deviate from only needs one centre-forward and this is something that many of the faithful are not convinced by.

"I’ve played two strikers already this year, " insisted Deila. "We played for the last 30 minutes against Aberdeen with two strikers. When you play Kris Commons and Nadir Ciftci, you can’t come much closer to playing a 4-4-2. Kris is a goalscorer, more of a striker than a midfielder.

“So it is about balance. I want angles in my play. If you have a 4-4-2 with a striker dropping off, rather than having a midfielder in that position, then you have big angles. I want shorter angles in the pitch and the number 10 is very important to get the angles round the sides.

“So it is small differences. But it is important you have goalscorers on the pitch. I think we have scored 23 goals in eight league matches - an average of more than three a game. It’s not easy to score much more than that. It is more than we did last year in the same period. So there are some positive things there.”