It was a bittersweet parting of the ways on Sunday afternoon as Ronny Deila and John Collins bowed out of Celtic Park.

There is an argument to suggest the journey this season has had more downs than ups, but the duo signed off on a high as Celtic turned on a stylish and energetic display to see off a woeful Motherwell side.

The celebrations in a sun-drenched Celtic Park as a fifth successive title gave Collins and Deila the chance to close the door while the mood at the club was one of warmth. And the former Scotland internationalist was content that he has left the club on good terms.

"I knew I was moving on and I enjoyed the day,” he said. “The important thing for me was the performance. I can close my eyes and remember that on my last day at Celtic Park when I was on the coaching team the players put on a fantastic performance from the first minute until the last.

"A 16-year-old scored, an 18-year-old scored, a 19-year-old scored, a 21-year-old scored and a 22-year-old scored. From a coaching point of view, nothing gives you greater pleasure than seeing a team playing beautiful football, the team scoring seven goals and young kids expressing themselves like they did on Sunday.

“And, of course, there was the added pleasure of lifting the Premiership trophy at the end of it and going round and celebrating with the Celtic supporters and with my family.

"So there was sadness, of course, but there was also a lot of pleasure.”

What is next for Collins remains to be seen – he revealed yesterday at a William Hill media event to preview this weekend’s Scottish Cup Final that he has already turned down an offer that would have opened an immediate path back into the game – but the same can be said for on-loan Celts Liam Henderson and Anthony Stokes.

Both players will hope to play a part in this weekend’s final at Hampden when Rangers and Hibs go head-to-head and the Leith side look to end a 114-year Scottish Cup hoodoo.

Collins oversaw the departures of both players out on loan and anticipates that Henderson in particular will have a chance to return and stake his place for a starting berth next term under a new manager.

“Every time I’ve watched Hibs this season Liam has got my eye, he’s been their best player,” said Collins. “He’s their playmaker. Being a young boy, he plays with such maturity.

“He’s calm on the ball and always wants the ball. It’s a great thing to have in your team, it’s like a magnet - the ball comes to him. But when the ball comes to him, Hibs need to have runners.

“If he has got Hibs making penetrative runs behind the Rangers back four he’ll find them with passes. Sometimes he needs more of that so he can create more chances. He’s been a great signing by Alan Stubbs and Hibs and I know the Hibs fans have enjoyed watching.

“He’ll go back for pre-season and the manager will judge him and it’s up to Liam to prove to the new manager that he deserves to be kept.”

Stokes’ situation at Celtic is complicated by the fact that the Irish striker has a litany of off-field instances that have blotted his copybook at the club. However, Collins believes that he is a player who can have a significant say on this weekend’s final against Rangers.

“Stokes has got huge talent,” he said. “He has proved it in the big games. He has that calmness about him and nothing really flusters him. Again, a big decision. Has he worked for Hibs? I think he has got better.

“He started off slowly but he has improved as the months have went by and he has got more game time under his belt. I haven’t watched him week in,, week out but he is a talented football player. In a big game you would fancy Stokes to cause Rangers problems.”

Had Celtic seen off Rangers in the William Hill semi-final of the Scottish Cup, Collins would have been previewing the game in a very different capacity. He was unwilling to dwell too much, however, on what went wrong for the Parkhead side when they took on Rangers at Hampden last month.

“You can’t dwell too much on that but we never played as well as we should have or are capable of,” he said. “It was a disappointment performance from us and Rangers played very well. We’ll give them credit but we know on the day we could have played a lot better. We lost the game on penalties but we never played to the level we’re capable of and Rangers did and the got the result, the rest is history.”

Having been in the dug-out for that game against Rangers and having watched Hibs this season, he does, though, believe that Saturday’s game is too tight to call.

“I think it’s a real close game,” he said. “When I look at them player-for-player there’s not a lot in it. It’s two different systems in play.

“Rangers play wingers wide at the top of the pitch and Rangers don’t. Hibs play narrow and all the width comes from their full backs. Can Hibs stop Rangers in the wide areas, can Hibs get control of the centre of the park?

“They usually have more numbers with their four-man diamond against Rangers three with the triangle.

“From a coaches point of view it will be interesting to see how the different systems work.”

*John Collins was speaking at a William Hill media event. William Hill is the proud sponsor of the Scottish Cup*