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DEILA WILL POOL RESOURCES

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RONNY DEILA is poised to shuffle the pack as Celtic prepare for a hectic period of five games in 14 days before the SPFL split.
On top of the 51 matches the Hoops have already played, the Norwegian is also very conscious of the international commitments of players such as Scott Brown, James Forrest, Craig Gordon, Nir Bitton, Emilio Izaguirre, Adam Matthews, Efe Ambrose and Jason Denayer.

Israeli midfielder Bitton has been a key figure in recent months while Charlie Mulgrew has struggled to overcome his long-term injury, but Deila rested him at the start of the 2-0 win over St Mirren on Friday before coming on midway through the second-half.

Anthony Stokes got a rare start at the point of the attack, while Leigh Griffiths and John Guidetti remained on the bench.
Deila said: “I didn’t put Nir on at the start because he played 90 minutes for Israel on Tuesday and had a long journey, too. I didn’t want to take any chances with him because we are going to play so many more games in the next few weeks.

“As for Stokesy, he has been very positive lately and been good in training.

“It was a tough game for him to play, but I wanted to see him up front again.”

The Hoops gaffer added: “Everything will not always go the way we want. We have to fight hard for the points, especially when we meet teams that have something to play for like St Mirren.

“They were defending very deep and very bravely. It was difficult to break them down. We were patient, but we were not clinical enough.”

Celtic face Partick Thistle at Parkhead on Wednesday night before travelling to take on Inverness Caley Thistle on Saturday with a 12.45pm kick-off. Next up is Kilmarnock in Glasgow the following midweek before the Sunday Scottish Cup semi-final against John Hughes’ Highland outfit at Hampden and concluding the frantic period with a rearranged meeting against Dundee at Dens Park on the Wednesday.
 
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