Celtic: Kris Commons insists progress in Europe is crucial

Celtic midfielder Kris Commons and manager Ronny Deila
Commons says new manager Deila is trying to put his own mark on the Scottish champions
Champions League qualifying second round, first leg
Venue: KR-völlur, Reykjavik. Date: Tuesday, 15 July. Kick-off: 20.00 BST
Coverage: BBC One Scotland, BBC Radio Scotland 810MW, BBC Sport website

Kris Commons says Celtic are under added pressure this year to reach the Champions League group stages.

Ronny Deila's side face KR Reykjavik in Iceland on Tuesday in the second qualifying round of Europe's premier club competition.

After the relegations of Hearts and Hibs, Commons says progress is crucial.

"We've lost a couple of big hitters in our top flight so it's vital for entertainment value that we are coming up against Europe's elite," he said.

"European football keeps everyone interested, not only at Celtic but in Scotland.

"But for our own personal pride the Champions League is the place to be and we want to be putting ourselves up against Europe's elite."

The match in Iceland will be manager Deila's first in charge of the Scottish champions.

And Commons says the Norwegian is well on his way to implementing a more attacking style on the team.

"We're confident, training has been going very well and the manager has got us playing in a way that I think we'll score a lot more goals," he added.

"The manager wants us to play a lot more football from the back, more attractive football, but from last year it's vitally important we don't change too much too quickly, because, as the manager said, we were successful.

"But no doubt he wants to put his own stamp of authority on the team, make us better and take us that next step."

Deila, who left Stromsgodset in his homeland to replace Neil Lennon, admitted changing the team's style of play will take time.

"Of course there is a lot to improve still, but we are ready for the game," he said.

"We want to control the game and get the tempo up so we can get the goals and take a good result home with us.

"Celtic have been successful for many years and we have to adapt slowly, it's important to take the good things from before and get some small things into the team as I want to have it.

"Everything is about winning, but I have to think about how we win. That's the important thing, and I have to get my team to perform as good as possible.

"Champions League matches are special. I feel comfortable and I'm looking forward to it. It's a big game but that's why I came here, to play big games and have a possibility to get into Europe."

Deila revealed Charlie Mulgrew will captain Celtic against Reykjavik in the absence of the injured Scott Brown.

And he has no fears about pitching defender Efe Ambrose into the side, fresh from playing in the World Cup with Nigeria.

"I'm more confident about him than a lot of the players who have been on vacation. He has been playing matches the whole World Cup and has played well. I have no problem playing him," Deila added.

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