Ronny Deila has praised the performances of midfielders Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong as both helped themselves to goals in a 3-1 win over St Johnstone.

Mackay-Steven followed an impressive outing against Hamilton on Tuesday night with two crucial goals, with Armstrong scoring before half-time, as Leigh Griffiths had a rare off-day in front of goal.

As quoted by Sky Sports, Deila praised the two for coming back after initially struggling to retain the form they displayed at the end of last season when they first donned the Hoops.

Gary has been out for a while but he’s played two very good games now and Stuart looks very sharp so I’m pleased with that.

It’s tough here. We have many players who haven’t played for big clubs coming from smaller clubs. It’s one thing to come in when everything is positive and you are kicking on, but then the expectation is coming over you and it takes time to deal with that.

When they get through that you play with more freedom. Hopefully now Gary has done it and Stuart is looking better. Callum McGregor had a little period out and has come back in again. To develop players takes time but if you work the right way you get your credit in the end.

Another highlight in the team’s third consecutive victory was the debut of summer signing Ryan Christie after coming off the bench in the 88th minute.

The player was recently recalled from a loan deal at Inverness and the Scottish Under-21 international has joined talents such as Scott Allan and James Forrest on the bench, being frustrated by the form of other midfielders in the squad.

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However, despite the midfield competition, it has emerged that Celtic are in talks with Forrest in extending his stay with the Scottish champions after spending the last six years with the team.

We are talking with him and we want to keep James here. He’s a very good player and I think we have a lot to improve with him as well. I think he wants [a new contract], he loves Celtic and has been here for many years.

He has trained for two months every session, I don’t think now he is going to pull a muscle like he did for four years before that. We have worked a lot with him but now he can really get out his potential.

No-one can do that when you are in three games and out injured again. You need consistency. Jamesie has fought hard with his body, he has done a lot of hard work off the pitch and now we can really work on what happens on the pitch.

Celtic’s star players will once again be expected to perform in another important match next Sunday against Ross County as they look to reach the League Cup final for a second successive year.

Their next Scottish Premiership match is also crucial, a top of the table clash with Aberdeen, when the Hoops will hope to go nine points clear with a win at Pittodrie.

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