Wednesday 12 December 2018

Collins: Celtic don't have a magic winning formula

Ronny Deila's Celtic have dropped seven points in six games this season and lie five points behind leaders Dundee United, albeit they have played a game less than the Tannadice side.

Assistant coach Collins is hoping the form showed in the 3-0 League Cup third-round win over Hearts at Parkhead on Wednesday night is a portent of things to come but stressed that a magic formula is not available.

"Consistency is the target," said the former Scotland international, who insisted striker Leigh Griffiths, linked with an emergency loan move to Hibs, is still part of the plans at Parkhead.

"We finished the game very well against Hearts. We looked stronger and fitter and we will be looking for the same tomorrow.

"It is about getting quality performances every week but it takes time.

"We are not magicians."

Collins has backed "father figure" Tommy Craig to come good at St Mirren. The 63-year-old has struggled at the Paisley club since moving up from assistant to manager when Danny Lennon departed in May.

Craig has picked up with only one win in six Premiership games to sit second bottom of the table while the Buddies exited the League Cup to Partick Thistle in midweek to increase the pressure on him.

Few in football know the Saints boss better than Collins. He learned his trade as a midfielder under Craig when he was coach at Hibernian and the Parkhead club.

When Collins became Hibs manager in 2006 he chose Craig as his coach and took the former Newcastle and Aston Villa player with him to Belgian club Charleroi, where Craig subsequently had a spell as manager himself. Ahead of the visit of Celtic to Paisley in the Premiership today, Collins said:

"Tommy was my best ever coach growing up so I have huge respect for him as a coach and as a person.

"He is a father figure to me and I always look up to him on and off the pitch. I had him when I was 17, 18, 19 and had him at Celtic when I came here as a player. He is my kind of coach and I learned a lot as a coach from him.

"He has a small budget as well so it was never going to be easy.

"But he will have them organised and fighting for their lives."

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