The pressure surrounding Celtic manager Ronny Deila eased for the moment after his team managed a stunning 6-0 victory over Partick Thistle in the League Cup. This thrashing has put Celtic in the League Cup semi-final draw. Speaking about the eventuality of playing against one of the top teams from the country, Deila said that he and his Celtic team are ready for any opponent. The win over Partick Thistle was the fourth consecutive in all competitions. It has finally put Deila on the path of winning over the Celtic fans, who have been losing their patience in the last few weeks.
Celtic were expected to comfortably win the league title without much trouble especially in the absence of Rangers, but they are fourth in the table with just 20 points on board. Hamilton’s lead has been cut to 3 points in the last few matches. This has given Celtic real belief that they can go on and play in the Scottish Premier League once again. For the moment, attention turned towards the draw for the League Cup semifinals. After his failure to get the club into the Champions League group stages, Deila’s season will be judged upon the number of trophies that he lifts.
“For me it is about winning trophies and we are now two wins away from getting the first one. So I am looking forward to the semi-final, who we meet doesn’t bother me. We just have to win. What you remember when your career is finished is titles and that’s why I’m here – to win trophies and make sure Celtic is successful. To do that we have to meet whatever team is in front of us,” said Deila. Celtic could meet the likes of Aberdeen and Dundee United. Rangers are also in the draw for the semifinals.
Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand is of the opinion that Celtic will be a major absentee from the Champions League this campaign. The Scottish club were knocked out of the competition in the final qualification round after losing to Danish club Maribor. There were looking to reach the group stages for the second consecutive season after having given a huge lifeline from the previous round. Despite being defeated by Polish club Warsaw, Celtic were reinstated back into the competition after their opponents were found guilty of fielding an ineligible player.
Ferdinand, who has come up against Celtic on a couple of occasions in the Champions League when playing for Manchester United, says that the British club represents a lot of history and it will be sad to see them not in the elite European competition for the coming campaign. Celtic manager Ronny Deila gave a damning assessment of the club’s position in the European elite table. He said that Celtic are no longer the top club that they once were and that they should get used to playing in the Europa league more often than not.
Celtic have won the league without much opposition in the last few years due to the absence of Rangers, who are slowly making their way up the Scottish football league.
“I think for other teams Celtic will be a big miss, especially from the sense of occasion they bring. In the Champions League with teams like Barcelona, I speak to Gerard Pique and others and they say ‘The atmosphere against Celtic away is just unbelievable’. Some of them just don’t know about it. No disrespect to Scottish football but sometimes people in other countries don’t know the history of Celtic. But when they come here they leave aware of what is going on and the importance of the club,” said Ferdinand.
Celtic have been put on the brink of exit from the Champions League qualifying rounds after they lost 4-1 at the hands of Legia Warsaw in the first leg. This was the second round of the qualifying. Celtic came into the encounter with aspirations of reaching the group stages. Prior to the match, manager Ronny Deila has been speaking about giving Celtic an automatic group stages spot given the history of the club. He also says that Celtic are being devoid of this opportunity simply because they are playing in the Scottish Premier League – not recognised as one of the top in Europe.
Deila successfully managed to get Celtic as to the third round of qualifying, but he was to get a major shock in his early days as Celtic manager following this defeat. After the match, he heavily criticised the players for failing to adhere to the tactics. Celtic have a mountain to climb in the second leg. He says that it will be very important that Celtic start the match well. The Norwegian reckons that failure to do so will not only give the opposition enough belief that they can go one step closer to Champions League group stages, but also deflate his own team.
“It was not the plan to go forward at 2-1. We had a spell when we had good control but started making stupid mistakes and they got space behind us. That is my responsibility. I have to be much clearer as to what I expect and how we perform as a team, defensively and offensively and we lost our heads and that is not good enough. It was a very poor performance and worst of all was the commitment, the energy, I need much more energy in the game,” said Deila, who was appointed as the replacement for Neil Lennon.