CARLTON COLE has been praised by Ronny Deila for putting playing football ahead of personal finance.

The Celtic boss revealed the Hoops will not break their wage structure to lure the seven times-capped England striker to Parkhead.

Cole, 31, was released by West Ham in the summer and has been at Lennoxtown this week for training with a view to signing a deal at least until the end of next season.

The average salary at Upton Park last year was £30,000-a-week, in excess of anything on offer to the top players at the SPFL champions.

Deila insisted Cole is not motivated by money and said: “The wage structure here is not a surprise to him. Every agent knows about our structure and its limits.

“It says a lot about him. He has earned his money and it’s not as if he would earn nothing here – the money is quite okay.

“However, it shows he wants to enjoy the last years of his career in football. When you don’t have money you think it’s the only thing in the world. Then, when you have it, you realise it doesn’t make you happy.

“Money gives you freedom – and he now has the freedom to come here and play for less money, but to have more fun.

“He’s watching us and we’re watching him to see if it is a good match or not. He’s a lovely guy and you can see he’s a good player. He will be here at least this week and although we haven’t set a deadline we won’t let it go a long, long time.

“If he goes for it, the contract should be beyond the summer.”

Cole watched Celtic for the first time in their 6-0 demolition of Dundee on Sunday and is set to look on again tonight when Deila’s side begin their defence of the League Cup at home to Raith Rovers.

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