Celtic’s preseason training under Ronny Deila and John Collins has been up and running for just over a week now. Yesterday at their training camp in Austria, the new management team notched up their first victory.
Celtic beat Russian side FK Krasnodar 3-1 in a preseason friendly in the Hofmaninger-Stadion. Ronny Deila utilised two different teams to play each half, both groups of eleven showing hunger and determination.
Anthony Stokes opened his preseason account in less than two minutes with a nice touch but the Russians equalised in the 19th minute. On 42 minutes Stefan Johansen put Celtic ahead again from a tight angle and after a full cha he at half time it was young Callum McGregor who sealed the victory,having spent last season on loan to Notts County.
Given the timescale the new coaching staff have to prepare before that first Champions League qualifier, it is unsurprising that they used 90 minutes to run the rule over 22 players. That trend may continue for the next game against Rapid Vienna as well.
By the time the LSK Linz and Dukla Prague matches come around Ronny and John should have a better idea of a starting eleven. That first competitive match against KR Reykjavik is now only 11 days away.
The management team have already underlined the room for improvement but they will be encouraged by the start made in Austria. The most important thing from this was that Ronny got to cast is eye over so many of his players in one match.
Celtic are of course without a handful of players such as Forrest, through injury. They are also without their World Cup contingent of Izaguirre, Forster and Ambrose.
The latter three are unlikely to feature in the first competitive match over in Iceland. Though there is the chance that they could be included in the squad for the return leg at Murrayfield a week later.
That will all depend on whether Ronny feels they have each has had sufficient rest after the World Cup. It will also depend on whether he deems it necessary to call upon their services.
All are important players for the club but Celtic have sufficient cover. What is encouraging is that Ronny is already talking about how different things will look a year from now.
For the time being, its a positive start for Ronny and John and they will be keen to influence and improve the team further. The next friendly match is on Sunday against Rapid Vienna where we will hopefully see another advance in preseason preparations.
New signing Craig Gordon has joined up with the squad now. With four keepers now involved with the first team matters, it is likely one will be shipped out on loan or sold.
Fraser Forster is the prime candidate tipped for a big move away from the club. It has also been mooted that Lukasz Zaluska could depart but it even young keeper Leonardo Fasan could find himself on a loan move if he requires experience.
This story will unravel itself over the coming weeks but for now we know there is no shortage of keepers. The same can be said throughout the squad, unless of course Celtic move anyone on or accept bids for players in key positions.
For now, Ronny Deila must assess what he has in experience and what he has coming through the ranks. Youth finally looks like it will be given a chance and for me that’s encouraging and long over due.
Ronny seems determined to make that happen. With that in mind there may be no rush for new signings.