Celtic stronger after Champions League reprieve - Ronny Deila

Ronny Deila on tough Champions League so far.
Champions League play-off round first leg: Maribor v Celtic
Date: Wednesday, 20 August. Venue: Ljudski vrt, Maribor. Kick-off: 19:45 BST.
Coverage: BBC Radio Scotland 810 MW, live text commentary on BBC Sport website.

Manager Ronny Deila says Celtic are in good shape for their Champions League play-off after a poor showing against Legia Warsaw in the previous round.

Celtic were swept aside by Legia only for the result to be overturned because the Poles fielded a suspended player.

And now Maribor stand between Celtic and the group stages.

"We have had a longer period together now, had two difficult matches against Legia and I think we have learned something from it," said Deila.

"This is was what I say all the time - we have to learn from our experiences.

"That was a tough experience but an important one and we will take those things with us into the game.

"The players look fitter now, and quicker and sharper in their passing and pressing, so I am sure we are going to get a much better performance than we had against Legia."

Celtic were well beaten by Legia Warsaw before being handed a reprieve
Celtic were well beaten by Legia Warsaw before being afforded a reprieve

Deila insists he is confident of beating Maribor and takes heart from Saturday's 6-1 thrashing of Dundee United.

"We know what we are capable of when we play at our best level," the Norwegian added. "We played well at the weekend and it was important for the team to get a good result and performance.

"We have to take these things out on the pitch and I can see in training every day that things are progressing and looking much better.

"We have always prepared for two new matches in Europe, whether it was the Europa League or Champions League. Now, we have a chance here again, I'm really looking forward to the game. It's a big challenge for us and a big opportunity."

While Celtic slumped to a 6-1 aggregate loss to Legia before their reprieve, Wednesday's Slovenian opponents beat Maccabi Tel Aviv 3-2, drawing the first leg 2-2 in Israel.

Interview - Celtic assistant manager John Collins

"They are a very good team," said Deila. "They are well-organised, work hard together and are good on the counter attack. Especially here at home, they are a very good team.

"We will have a tough opponent but in every round of the Champions League we know we are going to meet difficult opponents and we just have to be prepared and get the best out of our team."

Assistant manager John Collins agrees it will be a tough contest, saying Maribor are of a "similar standard" to Legia.

"They are Slovenian champions," he said. "We've had the watched a few times. but it's all about our performance.

"We've got to keep it tighter at the back and watch we don't concede soft goals and, when the chances come along, put them in the back of the net.

"I think you've seen from the last couple of games, the players are getting quicker, sharper and more confident and we're scoring goals and keeping it tight at the back.

"It so happens we've had good fortune and we have to capitalise on it."