Champions League: Group stage is success - Celtic's Ronny Deila

By Chris McLaughlinBBC Sport
Celtic manager Ronny Deila and Virgil van Dijk in training
Deila's side have yet to play competitively this season
Champions League qualifying
Date: Wednesday, 15 July Venue: Celtic Park, Glasgow Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland 810MW & DAB digital radio

Celtic manager Ronny Deila says qualification for the Champions League group stages would constitute European success this season.

The Scottish title winners start their qualifying campaign with a home match against Icelandic champions Stjarnen.

"We are, of course, the favourites to win this game, but we always respect the team," he said of Wednesday's game.

"The preparation has been very very good. We have no excuses and I'm very confident."

Stjarnan are already 11 games into their season while Celtic have been limited to pre-season friendlies.

Celtic eased past another Icelandic side, KR Reykjavic, 5-1 on aggregate last season in the second qualifying round but then missed out on the group stages.

Nadir Ciftci in training with Celtic
Former Dundee United striker Nadir Ciftci is Celtic's latest summer signing

They were reinstated after defeat by Legia Warsaw after the Poles played an ineligible player, but then also lost to Slovenian side Maribor.

Asked if making the group stage was his target this season, Deila said: "Of course. That's a step forward.

"You have to be patient. If we get there then we can talk afterwards, but for now it's all about qualification.

"The goals are the same as last year - qualification to the group stages and win everything in Scotland."

Deila last week added Nadir Ciftci after paying Dundee United £1.5m for the Turkish striker.

Celtic have also signed central defender Dedryck Boyata from Manchester City, full-back Saidy Janko from Manchester United and goalkeeper Logan Bailly from OH Leuven.

"We have a very strong squad, but it's a never ending story and we should always be on the front foot if something comes up," Deila said when asked about the prospect of more summer signings.

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