Celtic v Molde: Arild Stavrum backs Ronny Deila reign

By Liam McLeodBBC Scotland
Celtic manager Ronny Deila looks concerned in training
Deila's side are bottom of Group A
Europa League Group A: Celtic v Molde
Venue: Celtic Park, Glasgow Date: Thursday 5 November Kick-off: 18:00 GMT
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland 810MW & DAB digital radio; live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Former Aberdeen striker Arild Stavrum wants to see countryman Ronny Deila continue as Celtic manager even if they fail to progress in the Europa League.

Norwegian Deila's side host Molde knowing they must win to stand a realistic chance of making the last 32.

"I hope that he is given another chance next season because I think Ronny's an extremely talented manager," said former Molde coach Stavrum.

"I think Celtic would do wisely to keep him for the next few years."

Stavrum, who managed Molde in 2006, is convinced the current Parkhead incumbent is the right man to lead Celtic into another Champions League qualifying campaign.

"They won against Aberdeen last game and have a good hold on the Premiership again," he told BBC Scotland.

"That should help his position, but it's important to improve in Europe as well and it's been difficult for him."

Arild Stavrum
Stavrum, now an author of fiction, thinks the top flights in Norway and Scotland are of a similar standard

Stavrum was impressed with Deila's steering of Drammen's Stromsgodset from the brink of relegation to the Tippeligaen title in 2013.

"There's not many managers would have won the league with Stromsgodset - that was a really good achievement," he said.

"His name is strong in Norway and he did a fantastic job there."

Stavrum, who was at Pittodrie between playing spells at Molde, does not believe there is much difference in class between the Norwegians and Celtic, although he was surprised that Molde ran out such convincing winners last month and sit top of Group A.

"I was pretty sure that Celtic would have a hard time winning that game," he said. "I had pictured a draw could be a natural result there.

"I didn't see that they should outclass Celtic as there was nothing in Molde's games leading up to that that showed improvement on that scale.

"I was - like the rest of Norway - surprised that they were so good in that game.

"But, when you look at it player by player, Molde have about the same level of player that Celtic has.

"The biggest surprise for me is that they are leading the group and it's not Ajax who's leading."

Europa League Group A table

Stavrum currently spends most of his time away from football as an author of fiction, but he believes it is a fact that there is little to separate the Scottish league from his homeland's, with Molde's success the proof of that.

"I think the standard is pretty similar," he said. "This season, I think Celtic would have won the league in Norway, as they will do in Scotland.

"Molde is number six, but it's not the sixth best team in Norway.

"At the moment, they are number one or number two. They just had a bad start to the season.

"Next year, Molde will challenge for the title again for sure, but if I look at the rest of the teams, it's quite an even standard.

"Last year, I was twice at Pittodrie and watched a lot of games in Norway and the level is really quite the same."

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