Sunday, July 23, 2017

´My players are professional´ – Deila dismisses Stjarnan pitch concerns

SoccerNews in English Premier League 21 Jul 2015

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Celtic manager Ronny Deila has dismissed claims by Runar Pall Sigmundsson that the Scottish side are “pissed” about Stjarnan’s artificial pitch.

Former Motherwell manager Stuart McCall was unimpressed with the Icelandic club’s pitch when his side lost 3-2 in Gardabaer and 5-4 on aggregate in UEFA Europa League qualifying last season, but Deila seemed unconcerned on Tuesday.

Celtic will take on Stjarnan at Samsungvollur on Wednesday with a 2-0 lead from the UEFA Champions League qualifying first leg in Glasgow.

And although the home side’s coach Sigmundsson talked up the difference in surfaces, Deila was more interested in the similarities with the venues of some Scottish Premiership clubs.

“I’m very positive about artificial surfaces,” Deila said at his pre-match media conference.

“It’s much better to play on good artificial than bad grass.

“If I could choose, everyone would want to play on a very good grass pitch like at Celtic Park but I think it’s going to be a good surrounding and it is a surface we had to handle last season when we played Kilmarnock and Hamilton. We did that quite well so I’m looking forward to the game.

“It’s not only Celtic Park in Scotland. You can go to Inverness or Ross County and I don’t think they’re too different from this.”

Earlier, Sigmundsson had claimed Celtic were frustrated about having to play on his club’s artificial pitch.

“It will be a shock for them to see this [pitch] for themselves compared to the one they have, there is a gulf between them,” he said, according to Morgunbladid.

“Of course they are mud pissed over this situation.”

But Deila insisted Celtic know how to get through any situation.

“My players are professional. They know what they’re going into,” the Norwegian said.

“If you make a big mess of things it will be a mess and we just have to keep on with the same things – building that culture I talk about all the time, being 100 per cent every day, going into training, getting better and using every game to get better and get a good performance.”

Celtic will welcome back defender Virgil van Dijk to the squad for Wednesday’s match after he missed last week’s first leg due to suspension, while Nadir Ciftci will also be available despite receiving a six-game ban on Monday.

Ciftci was found guilty of biting on the final matchday of the 2014-15 Scottish Premiership but his suspension is for domestic football only.

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