Ronny Deila is using the Celtic squad well, says Neil McCann

Celtic manager Ronny Deila
Image: Celtic manager Ronny Deila made nine changes against Dundee United

Neil McCann says Ronny Deila showed the quality and depth of his Celtic squad at the weekend by making nine changes ahead of their 3-1 win over Dundee United.

The Hoops play Malmo in the second leg of their Champions League qualifier on Tuesday night and take a 3-2 lead to Sweden after the first tie at Celtic Park.

However, a late Jo Inge Berget strike in Glasgow has left Celtic's chances of progressing to the group stages of the competition on a knife edge.

Celtic's Leigh Griffiths opens the scoring against Dundee United
Image: Celtic's Leigh Griffiths opens the scoring against Dundee United

Deila left out key names, including skipper Scott Brown, Craig Gordon and Stefan Johansen for their Premiership tie at Dundee United on Saturday ahead of their crucial European encounter and it paid dividends as striker Leigh Griffiths struck again in a comfortable win.  

"There is no secret in Scotland that Celtic do possess the biggest squad, the best squad, they have the biggest resources to use and Ronny Deila has used it well because this game against Malmo is massive," McCann told Sky Sports News HQ.

Former Rangers and Hearts midfielder Neil McCann analyses how Celtic, Hearts and Rangers got on this weekend

"Considering they lost a late goal at Celtic Park to make the tie 3-2 and make it a little more precarious, then of course you can't take any risks but going up to Tannadice, which is a difficult place to go, they get the victory up there.

"Leigh Griffiths was the interesting one for me because I think he was offered a rest and decided not to take it and it is lovely to have a striker that wants to score goals and can continue in the vein of form that he is in to get the result.

Also See:

 Jo Inge Berget of Malmo FF celebrates
Image: Jo Inge Berget of Malmo FF celebrates

"The most important thing was that he didn't get injured because he's a key figure for Celtic."

McCann says Celtic must stay compact and tight at the back after conceding two away goals in the first leg but does expect them to progress.

"You are always in danger of going out the tie when you concede away goals," McCann said.

"Ronny Deila plays a real open game of football. Most teams these days play with full backs so advanced and it exposes centre backs and they've still been doing that.

John Collins says no deal has been agreed for Virgil van Dijk amid speculation that the Dutch defender has already signed for Southampton

"I was just amazed that in the last couple of minutes of the game at Celtic Park that Berget was left unmarked right in front of the goalkeeper and, although the centre-backs both showed desire to go and win the header, the ball falls to Berget, who is unmarked, and rifles it in and puts them in a good position within the tie.

"Malmo score lots of goals at home, they are well up to speed, they are 20-odd games into their league campaign already. It will be a difficult tie but I still believe Celtic have enough to go through."

Elsewhere, McCann has been impressed with his former club Hearts and their start to life back in the Premiership.

Robbie Neilson Hearts
Image: Hearts boss Robbie Neilson has seen his side win five games out of five so far

Robbie Neilson's side have won five out of five and sit top of the league but McCann says talk of a title challenge is premature.

"I don't see them challenging for the title just yet, to take it away from Celtic," he said. "You can't fail to be impressed their start to the season. To be unblemished and sitting proudly at the top of the league just shows the momentum that they gained from last year.

"They are in a good place and it is always great when you get off to a good start because it gives you a grounding then to continue to build."

Around Sky