SHAUN MALONEY, the former Celtic striker, believes the newly crowned Premiership champions require an experienced manager to lead from the dugout as the search continues for Ronny Deila’s replacement at Parkhead.

The Norwegian saw his side clinch the top flight title with a 3-2 win over Aberdeen on Sunday as a first half brace from Patrick Roberts and a Mikael Lustig effort shortly after the interval proved enough to see off the Dons. With two games remaining this term, and just two remaining of Deila’s Celtic career, Celtic are now twelve points clear of their nearest rivals in the Premiership standings.

A number of candidates, including David Moyes, Roy Keane, Paul Lambert and Brendan Rodgers, have been linked to the top Parkhead post in recent weeks. An announcement will need to be made as soon as possible to give the new boss time to prepare for the upcoming Champions League qualifiers and Maloney has urged the board to put their faith in a strong character to oversee Celtic’s progression in the coming years.

“I would agree that is an experienced, a leader-type manager that they need,” he said. “At the moment, they aren’t improving. The manager has spoken about that himself and that is one of the reasons why he is leaving. The second half of last season, I thought they did improve in the games against Inter Milan and in their domestic form. But that obviously hasn’t carried on this season and I think that is why Ronny is leaving.”

Celtic looked to be strolling towards victory when they stormed into a 3-0 lead at Parkhead but goals from Niall McGinn and Andrew Considine ensured a nervy ending for Deila’s side as they finally got over the winning line. Maloney worked under the likes of Martin O’Neil, Gordon Strachan and Neil Lennon during his two spells as a player in green and white and insists Deila shouldn’t carry the blame for a slack second half showing.

“Under previous managers, when it went to 3-0 you always looked for four or five,” he said. “In fairness to Aberdeen, it got to 3-1 and the whole intensity of the game changed. Aberdeen were on the front foot, Celtic took that step back.

“Those managers (O’Neil, Strachan and Lennon), they drove you forward with their personality and the size of their character. I think Ronny manages in a different way. He lets the players have a say in team matters. I don’t know if the manager can be blamed exactly for when it goes to 3-0. It is the players who are out on the pitch so that would be a little bit harsh I think.”

It may have been a turbulent campaign for Deila and his players but Celtic are once again worthy winners of the Premiership title. A new manager will now look to make it six-in-a-row next term and Maloney knows the Hoops squad have to savour their success.

“It is still a really great achievement for a team to win the league,” he said. “There are new players there and young players like Tierney, this is his first league. You have to celebrate it and be proud.

“It is a brilliant moment. For these players, to be the champion of your league is an amazing moment. It is fully deserved.”

It will be a busy summer at Parkhead as Celtic gear up for the defence of their title and the challenge of a returning Rangers next term. Aberdeen will also look to remain in the mix at the top of the table but Maloney reckons boss Derek McInnes has another battle on his hands.

“They also have to keep their players,” he said. “[Jonny] Hayes was outstanding in the second half and [Adam] Rooney has obviously scored [goals]. There are going to be other teams with higher budgets that will look at these players. It is imperative now for Aberdeen to keep them.”