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DEILA HAS HIGH HOPES

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RONNY DEILA believes Celtic’s march to the UEFA Cup Final in Seville in 2003 can act as inspiration for the Hoops’ assault on the Champions’ League this season.
The Norwegian acknowledges the importance of set-plays for progress towards Europe’s elite.
At the halfway stage of the six-game qualification process, Deila is aware of an emerging pattern regarding the success of deadball efforts for crucial goals.
In Iceland, Nir Bitton got the equaliser against Stjarnan on the way to a 4-1 win with a header from a right-wing corner-kick.
And, at Parkhead on Wednesday, Dedryck Boyata staged an action replay to get the only goal against Qarabag after another deadly corner from the right, swung in perfectly by Kris Commons.
When Celtic reached Seville, Martin O’Neill’s team were renowned for their power in this area with the likes of Henrik Larsson, Chris Sutton, John Hartson, Bobo Balde, Johan Mjallby and Joos Valgaeren converting numerous chances from the deliveries of Alan Thompson and Stiliyan Petrov.

Deila is now witnessing the same development with Boyata, Bitton, Virgil van Dijk and Charlie Mulgrew reacting to opportunities created by Commons, Stefan Johansen, James Forrest and Stuart Armstrong from rehearsed moves.

The Celtic manager observed: “There are a lot of World Cup Finals and Champions League Finals won by a set-play. It’s part of the game and 33 per cent of goals scored come from one.

“When there is a lot of tension, like on Wednesday, set-plays are very important.

“That is our strength, Scottish football has always been physical and we have to use that for set-plays.

“We should be dominant. Every time we have a set-play, every team we meet should be worried about our height and power.

“I remember Celtic’s 2003 team, opponents were scared to give away corner-kicks. I take that as a positive, so it’s as important as counter-attacks or offensive play.

“You have to be good at it and last year we had a very good record from set-plays. We had something like 23 goals from set-pieces and only lost two. That’s very good.”

 
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