Deila tells struggling Celtic winger he must improve to get more game time

By Alex Stevens

Patrick Roberts must prove he is good enough to become a first-team regular, according to Ronny Deila.

The on-loan Manchester City winger has played just eight minutes for the senior side since joining on an 18-month deal at the end of January.

He has been building up his fitness with the development team but has had only a brief run out for the first team as a second-half substitute in the recent 3-0 win over Inverness Caley Thistle.

Deila has insisted that Roberts’ association with a major Premier League club will not give him special favours.

“He’s training well and we’ll see on Wednesday what we’ll pick,” Deila told the Celtic website. “The agreement is that he comes to us and we try everything we can to develop him as much as possible. If he’s good enough for the team then he plays and, if not, he sits on the bench.

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“You can’t make promises in this matter, and he’s a young player, but I’m very happy to have him here and we’re going to have him for one-and-a-half years.

Loan ranger: Deila says Roberts must prove himself over next 18 months

“He’s made his debut and this week we play two more games, so we’ll see if he gets any more playing-time.”

The manager spoke ahead of the visit of Dundee on Wednesday night where Celtic will look to return to winning ways following the 1-1 draw with Hamilton Accies last Friday.

The Bhoys thrashed the Dens Park outfit 6-0 in their previous encounter at Paradise this season but, after losing just once in their last eight games in all competitions, Deila knows Dundee will present a different challenge from back in September.