CELTIC manager Ronny Deila has expressed his concerns about the state of the Hampden pitch ahead of today’s League Cup semi-final against Ross County, believing it ought to be “perfect” for such an occasion.

Deila took the chance to inspect the surface during a managers’ media call at the national stadium on Thursday and was disappointed with what he saw. The pitch was criticised this time last year following the League Cup semi-finals – with the SPFL labelling it “highly unsatisfactory” – and was ripped up and replaced ahead of the final and the later rounds of the William Hill Scottish Cup. Deila, though, believes it has again deteriorated.

“The pitch hasn’t been fantastic in the past,” he said. “It was OK the last time we were there for the Scottish Cup semi-final but I’ve seen it again this week and it could be better. I went out to have a look at it when I was there on Thursday and it is not at the level it should be. That’s a little surprising because these big games are shown in a lot of countries. As a national stadium, it should be perfect.”

Meanwhile, Kristoffer Ajer is still hopeful his transfer to Celtic from the Norwegian club Start can be concluded before tomorrow’s deadline. The 17-year-old, who has been on trial with Celtic, was omitted from a friendly match against Bodo/Glint on Friday.

“There have been discussions between Start and Celtic so I didn’t play,” he told local media. “I don’t know much about the negotiations but the window closes soon so if it is going to happen it must happen quickly. It would be fantastic to get the chance of a move to Celtic.

His father Jan Tore Ajer added: “The clubs are talking but it is not long until the deadline so it needs to happen soon. Kristoffer wants to go. But if it doesn’t happen he’ll get more chances in the future.”