BY DARREN JOHNSTONE @CCP_Sport
New Hibs defender Niklas Gunnarsson admits Celtic manager Ronny Delia convinced him that moving to Easter Road was the right call.
The Norwegian has joined Alan Stubbs’ side on loan from Valerenga in his homeland until the end of the season and is in line to make his debut in tomorrow’s Scottish Cup clash at Raith Rovers.
The versatile 24-year-old, who also spent time on loan at Swedish outfit Elfsborg last year, admits he sounded out fellow countryman Delia before completing his switch to the Championship side.
Gunnarsson, who is one of head coach Alan Stubbs’ two January recruits so far alongside striker Chris Dagnell, said: “I know Ronny Deila and (Celtic midfielder) Stefan Johansen.
“I’ve met Ronny a couple of times and I’ve played against Stefan.
“I talked to Ronny about Hibs and he said very good things about the club, he said they are a big club and should be in the Premiership. He said very good things.
“I was already in Scotland when I called him but I just wanted to hear what he thought about the club and he gave good references.
“When Deila and Stefan came to Celtic the profile in Norway of Scottish football increased.
“Of course, before Tore Andre Flo played for Rangers but he wasn’t very good, as I remember.
“They bought him for a lot of money and he was amazing at Chelsea.
“The football here in the UK is big in Norway. We love watching both English and Scottish football.”
Gunnarsson’s immediate priority is to make an impact during the second half of the campaign but the right-back also has one eye on the future.
He added: “I’m taking a degree in sports management. I just want to do something besides football in the future.
“Sadly I can’t play football when I’m 50 so I am taking some classes and I’ll be finished in one year.
“It’s an online course just for footballers in Scandinavia. The study is in Denmark so everything is online, all the exams and everything is by Skype. It suits me just fine.
“We have a lot of spare time so this is instead of playing Fifa or sleeping.
“That’s fine, I did that for two years, but then I thought, ‘yeah’ – I can do school for two or three hours every day and that’s not much. I have the time.”