Celtic boss Deila vows he'll make most of lifeline

RONNY DEILA has sympathy for his countryman Henning Berg.

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Henning Berg has the sympathy of Celtic manager Ronny Deila after Uefa's decision to kick Legia Warsaw out of the Champions League for fielding an ineligible player at Murrayfield
Henning Berg has the sympathy of Celtic manager Ronny Deila after Uefa's decision to kick Legia Warsaw out of the Champions League for fielding an ineligible player at Murrayfield

He can't imagine how the Legia Warsaw manager must be feeling after seeing the chance to progress in the Champions League snatched from him because of an administration blunder on the part of the Polish club.

But while he can feel contrite, Deila does not feel lucky.

In fact, he insists that luck has never played a part in his life: all that he has achieved is down to working hard.

Which is what he will continue to do between now and sending his side out to face NK Maribor in the play-off round for the Champions League.

It's an opportunity that appeared to have slipped through his fingers after Legia exposed his side's failings in both legs of their qualifying round tie.

But Deila does not believe in looking back, other than to learn lessons.

There is simply too much he wants to grasp ahead of him to waste energy reflecting.

"It has been a very strange day, and my first thoughts go to Legia and my friends from Norway," said Deila as he came to terms with the manic events of yesterday morning.

Those events saw Celtic advance in Europe for the second time in three years at the ­expense of another club which failed to comply with the rules,

Sion let Neil Lennon off the hook in 2011, and his side went on to enjoy an important run in the Europa League which provided the foundations for their charge to the last 16 of the Champions League the next season.

Deila's team have not yet capitalised on their good fortune, which will amount to £15million if they get past Maribor and into the group stage.

But if it is true you often learn more about your players in adversity, then he has a much better working knowledge of his squad now than he had before they met Legia.

Deila admits he was more shocked by what he saw from his side in the game in Warsaw than by what happened at Murrayfield.

But he wants to quickly put the events of the past 10 days behind him, and put in place the plans that will ensure there is no repeat against the Slovenians when they get their second chance.

Deila refuses to get embroiled in the rights and wrongs of Uefa's decision, and said: "We have not been involved in this process.

"It's a Uefa decision. As a football manager, we just prepare for the next game, which is now against Maribor."

Deila revealed the Hoops' backroom staff had already begun work on analysing who they could have met in the Europa League play-off.

But it will be no hardship to switch their attention to Maribor.

The hope is that their Europa League homework does not need to be picked back out of the bucket at the end of this month.

He will discover Maribor are a solid team, bereft of big-name stars, and got to this stage by defeating HSK Zrinjski from Bosnia, then Maccabi Tel-Aviv, without losing a match.

They have only once before reached the group stage, in 1999/2000, but with Celtic's abject showings against Legia, they'll fancy their chances.

The first leg is in Slovenia, with the return at Celtic Park, a relief to Deila after having to host their previous two ties at Murrayfield.

Two league games - against St Johnstone and Dundee United - will be under their belts by the time they get to first leg, and a couple of new players could also be aboard to bolster their chances, with the bookies already making them favourites to go through.

Deila conceded: "Champions League has always been our goal, and, if we get a second chance, we have to use it well."

Asked if he believed this good fortune could be a turning point for him as manager, he reverted to type and replied: "The turning point for me is to perform well. If we do that, we will win games and things will be positive."

Which they certainly were not before Uefa's intervention.

Deila first heard about the investigation into Legia on the internet on Thursday night, but would not allow his hopes to rise too high.

Now that Lady Luck has smiled on him and his club, he knows even more eyes will be upon him and what he delivers.

He said: "I know I have a lot of good football players.

"It has been said that I want to build a whole new team. That's not true.

"I want to make it my way. But there are a lot of players here who are very good, and we have to get the best out of them. I know what we want, and, of course, we want to get players in to get to the next level.

"You can't turn around every player. Everyone knows that.

"We need to start from scratch with each other and build up a philosophy with how we want to play. That's what I meant, not that we were needing 20 new players."

Deila's own learning curve has hit a steep incline in the past few days, but he believes he remains on track to get to where he wants to go with this club.

He has vowed not to abandon the system which brought him such success at Stromsgodset, but does now recognise he has to be able to tweak it and have a back-up plan.

Deila said: "I'm here to win. You can't come here and say you are going to develop a team then lose and lose and lose. It's about winning."

Being lucky shouldn't be discounted either.

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