Molde matches key for Celtic's Ronny Deila - Pat Bonner

By Alasdair LamontBBC Scotland in Molde
Kris Commons and Ronny Deila
Kris Commons and Ronny Deila will be hoping to have leapfrogged Molde in Group A after the double-header against them
Europa League Group A: Molde v Celtic
Date: Thursday, 22 October Venue: Aker Stadion, Molde Kick-off: 20:05 BST
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland; live text commentary on BBC Sport website

The outcome of Celtic's Europa League matches with Molde could define Ronny Deila's stewardship of the club, claims their former goalkeeper Pat Bonner.

Celtic trail the Norwegians by two points going into Thursday's tie, with the return two weeks later at home.

Molde's impressive start in Group A means anything less than four points from these matches could make progress tough for Deila's side.

"If they get positive results, they could win the group," said Bonner.

Pat Bonner previews Celtic's Europa League tie against Molde

"But if he doesn't get (those results), people will be asking questions and certainly if he doesn't get out of the group they'll be wondering where are we going here.

"They failed in the Champions League of course but they've gone top of the (domestic) league now, which they'll be delighted with.

"But I think Europe is the benchmark."

Europa League Group A table

Molde's Aker Stadium, on the Romsdal Peninsula in western Norway, is exposed to the rather brutal elements.

This beautiful part of the country is less appealing at a time of year when wind, rain, fog and diminishing daylight hours create a sense of foreboding.

But the several hundred Celtic supporters in town are stoically braving the Norwegian autumn, which even caused Deila to remark on the cold on his return to his native country.

Stefan Johansen, also playing against Norwegian opposition for the first time since signing for Celtic, perhaps also has added reason for trying to put one over on his countrymen.

Celtic midfielder Stefan Johansen
Celtic midfielder Stefan Johansen believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's return to Molde will be good for the Norwegian club

"You always want to show you have developed as a player, of course," he said.

"It's going to be a tough game, they have done well so we need to be at our best to beat them."

A major talking point has been the return to Molde of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and, like Deila, Johansen is sure that will have a positive effect on Celtic's opponents.

"When Ole was here last time they won the league, he built a really good team and a lot of the players he brought in then are still here now," he added.

"I know most of them - they are great players and some of them I play with in the national team as well. I think he [Solskjaer] will do well coming back here."

Celtic's Norwegians, along with the rest of their entourage, want to ensure any lift the Molde players get from Solskjaer's return is delayed until after this double-header.