London - Celtic manager Ronny Deila has defended John Collins after his assistant was accused of being disrespectful to the other clubs in the Scottish Premiership.
Former Scotland international Collins appeared to suggest that the rest of the Scottish top flight lacked the pace and intelligence to punish champions Celtic.
But Deila was adamant that Collins was simply making the "obvious" point that Celtic face tougher opposition in Europe than they do in domestic football.
Collins, quoted in several Sunday newspapers, said: "We conceded too many goals in Europe last year. If you become open and detached from each other against good players and good teams you'll be punished.
"It's something that doesn't happen to us in Scotland, no disrespect to the other Scottish teams, but they're not clever enough players or quick enough thinkers to punish us when we do become detached from one another."
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For all that he used the words "no disrespect", Collins's words did cause offence with Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes saying they were "very disparaging" and a "slap in the face" to the rest of the league.
Deila, however, said the way in which Collins's remarks had been reported had created controversy where none ought to have existed.
"You take it totally out of context," Deila said Monday. "I think everyone agrees that you sometimes meet opponents in Europe that are better than what you meet in Scotland. That's a very, very obvious thing.
"You get tested harder than you do in the domestic league. That's not only in Scotland but in Norway and Sweden or wherever. But that's not disrespectful to the teams," the Norwegian added.
"John knows what football is and what quality is and what's best for Scottish football. He has played in the semi-finals of the Champions League so he knows what quality is.
"If there is something John Collins is, it's respectful," Deila said. "He is an unbelievably respectful man. I really support him. It's not a big thing.
"Everyone knows it's harder in the Champions League than the Scottish league, so why discuss it?"