Bonner: Celtic hot favourites

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 1:16

Bonner: Celtic hot favourites

Indeed, the former Republic of Ireland international goalkeeper, who made 641 appearances for the Glasgow giants over a 20-year spell, cannot see anyone testing Ronny Deila’s side over the course of the upcoming campaign.
Aberdeen pushed Celtic closer than many expected in the SPFL last year but their failure to pick up a point against the eventual champions in their league encounters ensured they had to settle for second spot.
Asked if he is worried about another potential Dons challenge this year, Bonner told Sky Sports News HQ: “No, I absolutely think that Celtic are hot favourites.
“It looks like Aberdeen is the only challenge there but whether they will be able to do what they did last year, because they went on an incredible run at times.
“They have to beat Celtic this year, because they lost the four games against them (last season), if they are going to put up that challenge and they have strengthened.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Hearts coming up. Will they get into the top six? I think they should consolidate; that should be their first objective when they come up from a new division – to stay in that division first and foremost.
“Inverness, we saw them last year, we enjoy the way that they play football under John Hughes but could they challenge Celtic? I’m not so sure.”
Bonner also said the size of the Celtic squad would be vital when it came to playing in Europe this season.
Dedryck Boyata’s goal gave the Hoops a 1-0 lead going into the second leg of their Champions League third-round qualifier against Qarabag next week and Bonner pointed to the substitutions made by Ronny Deila in that match as an example of their strength in depth.
“The one you don’t want to be in is the Europa League for Celtic, with big long travels and having to come back on the Thursday and then play the weekend and we’ve seen the history of that,” Bonner said.
“That can affect teams. I’m sure Aberdeen would love to see Celtic in it on a Thursday night, but Celtic want to be there in the Champions League. That’s their big prize this year, they want to be in the group stage and they have a big enough squad to challenge anybody in Scotland.
“We saw it last night (against Qarabag) where they brought on Kris Commons, Leigh Griffiths and James Forrest, those types of players who never started, so they have got the squad to handle it all.”
Watch Celtic v Ross County live on Sky Sports 1 from noon on Saturday, August 1 and Dundee United v Aberdeen also live on Sky Sports 1 from 3pm on Sunday, August 2.

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