Ronny Deila’s Celtic welcome Inter Milan to Celtic Park on Thursday night, giving the manager an opportunity to show how far he, and his team, have come since the start of the season.
Celtic's path into the Europa League was fortunate to say the least. Legia Warsaw fielding ineligible player, Bartosz Bereszynski, saw the Bhoys progress from the Champions League qualification tie to play Maribor, despite losing to the Polish champions 6-1 on aggregate.
After drawing the first leg in Sweden, Delia’s side failed to finish the job at Celtic Park and dropped into the Europa League, giving Deila another chance to prove his worth.
Two wins and two draws were enough to see Celtic through to the knock-out stages and, after losing their final two games, now is the time for Delia’s men to step forward and continue their current form against an out-of-sorts Inter Milan.
Inter sadly aren’t what they once were. They sit two points ahead of their city rivals, AC Milan, in Serie A but in 10th, five points from Lazio who are in the nearest Europa League qualifying place.
Two wins from their last two games stopped the three-in-a-row losing streak but Inter, like Celtic, still have plenty to prove this season.
Deila’s side have hit their best form in his short tenure as manager, conceding only once in nine games this calendar year, whilst winning all of them.
The combination of a settled and strong defence with a seemingly settled Kris Commons – who looked to be on his way out after throwing his boots into the crowd after the Hamilton game – is a signal that Delia has the dressing room under control.
Tonight’s game against Roberto Mancini’s side gives Celtic the opportunity to put their excellent league form to good use and for the players and manager alike to show that Celtic can still be a force on the European stage.