herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

DEILA'S PRAISE FOR CELTIC VISION

But club announces big drop in profits

Ronny Deila hailed Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell as "amazing" for his backing in the transfer window.

The Scottish Premiership champions spent a reported £2million on bringing in midfielder Stuart Armstrong and winger Gary Mackay-Steven from Dundee United on transfer deadline day, fast-forwarding the arrival of the latter who had signed a pre-contract agreement with the Parkhead side.

Midfielder Kris Commons then handed the Hoops a further boost on Thursday by signing a new two-year deal, at the behest of Deila, who was also delighted that none of his top players such as defender Virgil van Dijk had been poached.

Ahead of the Scottish Cup fifth-round tie against Dundee at Dens Park today, the Norwegian praised his boss.

"Peter Lawwell has been amazing in this transfer window," he said. "Peter and me co-operate in a good way. We have the same goals. We got what we wanted. We wanted the two players from Dundee United; we got them.

"Kris Commons; I took the decision that he gets this contract and we went through with it. There is no problem to me giving him two years.

"Now this is done, I am happy, Kris is happy and now we have to concentrate on what happens on the pitch.

"You always look for improvement and he has shown me in the last month that he is really up for it and understands where we are going. So the board and Peter have been fantastic in this transfer window.

"I am so happy and, when I see the new boys in training, I see quality and see boys happy to come in.

"It has been a good week and we are in a good place just now."

Deila said the inclusion of Armstrong and Mackay-Steven has already had an impact on his squad, albeit they are cup-tied for the Dundee game.

The former Stromsgodset boss, still basking in the satisfaction of the 2-0 Scottish League Cup semi-final win over rivals Rangers at Hampden last week, said: "This week in training has been the best I have seen since I have been here.

"We have two players in every position and that can hopefully make the team stronger and hopefully get us better results.

fresh

"To get fresh blood into the squad is important. We have been working on the same things for eight months and I think we are going the right way."

Commons looked a shade sheepish when reminded that he had thrown his boots into the crowd after the win over Hamilton at New Douglas Park on January 17 - usually an indicator that a player is leaving his club.

At first he tried to fob off the question by claiming they were "old boots", adding: "I've thrown so many pairs of boots away. I threw away some the other day."

However, when asked if it had perhaps been him putting pressure on the club to agree the new deal, there was clear embarrassment as he smiled wryly and said: "Yeah, maybe."

It's not all good news for Deila and Celtic as the club have revealed a 30 per cent decrease in revenue and a reduction on profit before taxation of over £14m, due in part to their failure to qualify for the Champions League.

The Parkhead club released the interim report for the six months to December 31, 2014 and, among key financial figures for the Scottish Premiership leaders, revenue decreased by 30.1 per cent to £31.3m, from £44.8m the previous year.

Dropping down to European football's second-tier club competition has influenced the financial results, according to chairman Ian Bankier. He said: "A key factor influencing these results is the participation in the Europa League, as opposed to the Champions League."

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