Stand-ins give Deila headache for Malmo
Published 24/08/2015 | 02:30
Celtic manager Ronny Deila will leave for Sweden this morning armed with faith in his squad after a much-changed team won 3-1 at Dundee United on Saturday.
Only Emilio Izaguirre and Leigh Griffiths retained their places following Celtic's 3-2 triumph over Malmo in the first leg of the Champions League play-offs but the Hoops eased to a comfortable Premiership win.
Griffiths rejected the opportunity of a rest in order to continue his goalscoring form following his double against the Swedes and broke the deadlock within 17 minutes at Tannadice after latching on to Izaguirre's through ball and rounding Luis Zwick.
Deila was given food for thought as several players boosted their prospects of involvement in Sweden.
Charlie Mulgrew dominated the centre of the park in the first half and Kris Commons worked his way into five good shooting positions, forcing three good saves from Zwick and seeing another effort cleared off the line by Mark Durnan, who later turned the playmaker's pass into his own net.
United halved the deficit with a Christ Erskine penalty on the stroke of half-time.
Callum McGregor also returned to goalscoring form, putting Celtic 3-1 ahead with a deflected strike in the 74th minute to wrap up the points.
Deila said: "It gives us confidence and it's competition. We have options in the team and also coming off the bench and that's going to be important."
The Norwegian also handed a debut to Scott Allan, who looked confident on the ball in his 23 minutes on the park at left midfield.
Deila said: "I have only seen him for two or three days in training so it's a bit early but he had the confidence to come on and show talent."
With Mikael Lustig a doubt for Malmo with a hamstring injury, Deila handed Saidy Janko the chance to shine at right-back, and he made some strong runs, although his delivery was a touch erratic.