JOHN Collins is confident Celtic are on the right path under Ronny Deila despite the criticism the manager has been subjected to in the wake of consecutive Europa League defeats to Molde.

And Collins has predicted Deila will resist the temptation to adopt a more pragmatic style of play in future – including in the remaining Group A fixtures against Ajax and Fenerbahce – regardless of the growing pressure on him.

Deila has faced calls for his removal from his own club’s supporters following the disappointing 2-1 defeat to opponents who were sixth in the Tippeligaen at Parkhead last Thursday night.

That result followed on from a dire 3-1 reverse to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side away from home a fortnight earlier and left them rooted to the bottom of their section after four matches.

However, Collins, the Celtic assistant, has defended their performances in those outings and even insisted the Scottish champions were the better team than their Norwegian rivals in both games.

“There are positives in there if you want to look for them,” he said. “We are having a lot of possession in European football, we are creating chances in Europe, we are trying to play football the right way, we are developing players and the team.

“But the negative is that we are conceding goals and when you concede soft goals it makes it hard. We know we have got to get better and that is what we are working on every day on the training pitch. We want to tighten up.”

Collins added: “Against Molde we were the better team in the two games. We created more chances and we had more possession, but they were more clinical than us.

“They defended, sat behind the ball, weren’t bothered about any kind of possession, even at home. We couldn’t play like that at home against Molde. The way they play, sitting back, they get away with it. But we don’t want to play like that.

“You have got to give Molde credit. Sometimes we didn’t play as well as we would have liked, but Molde were very disciplined, were very organised and were quick on the break. Their game plan was very good and it worked.”

There is no prospect of Celtic taking the same cautious approach, despite how effectively it worked for Molde, who progressed to the knockout stages of a European tournament for the first time in their history, under Deila according to Collins.

The former Hibs, Celtic, Monaco, Everton, Fulham and Scotland midfielder believes his colleague is correct to advocate a more positive game plan and stressed it will take time to build a successful team playing that way.

“It is not something that excites me, playing football without the ball,” he said. “Should we go with five at the back, four in midfield, one up front, get the keeper to roll it to the edge of his box, kick it up the pitch, defend and try to counter attack?

“Some people think it’s fun to watch. But I like seeing one-twos, overlapping full-backs, centre halves stepping forward and passing it. That’s what I like to watch. The ball is round, that’s the way it’s meant to go. It’s the way I was brought up, it’s the way I played and it’s the way I coach.

“We have got football players throughout the team. That is why we want to try and play football. We have not got big 6ft 3in strikers who are going to win headers up the top of the pitch. We have got Leigh who is 5ft 9in. We have got James Forrest who is 5ft 8in.

“We have got players who can pass it from the back. If you have got wingers and technical football players in the middle of the pitch you want to go through them, you don’t want to go over their heads.”

Collins added: “Trust me, we have lots of discussions. The coaching team watches reruns of games and goals conceded constantly as we try to get better, but we have got the way we want to play.

"We might slightly vary it in certain matches, but we are not going to go five at the back, four in midfield, one up front and kick the ball up the pitch.

“It works for some managers, it works for some clubs, but I think Celtic Football Club has always had a tradition from its greatest team, the team that won the European Cup.

"To try and emulate that special team, that special manager, that’s always got to be the route this football club takes.”

Celtic can, despite drawing two and losing two of their games so far, go through to the last 32 of the Europa League if they manage to beat both Ajax at home on November 26 and Fenerbahce away on December 10.

If they lose either of those games then the board will be faced with a decision over whether to retain the services of Deila, who has failed to reach the Champions League group stages in three attempts, or bring in a replacement in time for their qualifying campaign next season.

Yet Collins, who played in the semi-final of Europe’s premier club competition with Monaco, is adamant that Celtic can progress domestically and on the continent by sticking to their principles and endeavouring to play an attractive game.

“Of course it can get us into the Champions League, definitely,” he said. “But we have to get better at what we do. Ultimately you are always judged on your results. But along the way you would like to think you’ll be judged on the performances.

“I’m confident we will give it every single bit of energy and everything we’ve got to try and get through in the Europa League. We will never give in right until the final whistle in both games, I can guarantee that.”

Collins was subjected to an astonishing outburst from Kris Commons, which was captured by the television cameras, after the Celtic player was substituted in the 3-1 defeat to Molde over in Norway. But he revealed there were no issues with the player.

“I’ve seen that lots of times in football,” he said. “Players get frustrated when they come off and don’t think they should. It was dealt with. Kris knows he was in the wrong and he has apologised to everybody. We move on. Everyone makes mistakes, every one of us.”

Collins is hopeful that Scott Brown, Charlie Mulgrew and Jozo Simunovic, who have all been sidelined with injuries, will all be available for the game against Ajax later this month.