RONNY DEILA has admitted he is delighted Stuart Armstrong is set to cap a wonderful campaign with his first full Scotland appearance tonight.
The midfielder is likely to join Celtic team-mates Craig Gordon, Kieran Tierney, Scott Brown, James Forrest and Leigh Griffiths in the crucial World Cup qualifier against Slovenia at Hampden.
And Deila believes he deserves some credit for his role in the player’s development.
Many reckoned Armstrong, being played out of position in a wide area, was stuck in a rut until Brendan Rodgers replaced the Norwegian in the summer.
But Deila has responded by reminding everyone he sanctioned the £2million double deal to bring in the midfielder and Gary Mackay-Steven from Dundee United on deadline day in January 2015.
The ex-Hoops gaffer, who had a two-year reign in the east end of Glasgow, insisted he gave the player valuable experience of the demands of Celtic at a time when he wasn’t ready to dominate games the way he does now.
He has scored 12 goals in 37 matches already this season to attract the attention of Scotland supremo Gordon Strachan who will hand him a key role against the Slovenians this evening.
Deila, now manager of Valerenga in his homeland, said: “Stuart Armstrong couldn’t come straight into Celtic and be the best player at Celtic when he had just left Dundee United.
“He needed time. Now, once he has one and a half, two years under his belt he is starting to adapt to playing at Celtic.
“He played central for us as well at times, too. But we had Tom Rogic and Stefan Johansen there,
“Stefan wasn’t a natural No 10, but he did well the first year and pressed the game well for us.
“Tom Rogic did well, too, and we did play Stuart in the central as well sometimes.
“I agree that he has made this his best position, but at that time I think he needed more experience to be able to play there.
“I am so happy that he has made it and developed that way.
“He was a player we believed in. We bought him for some money and everybody needs time to adapt.
“That is the issue when you have clubs like Celtic. You don’t have the time. Because you have to win AND develop.”
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