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Celtic boss Deila calling on his Bhoys to shake off the shackles

Celtic 1 - Ross County 1

By Ronnie Esplin

Departing Celtic boss Ronny Deila watched his players struggle for a point in a 1-1 home draw with Ross County and urged them to have fun in the remaining four games of the season.

The Norwegian announced last Wednesday that he would be leaving at the end of the campaign - with former boss Neil Lennon interested in a return and Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill on Celtic's shortlist - but instead of quelling dissatisfaction among fans, several banners in a half-full stadium expressed disgruntlement with the board and players.

More: Neil Lennon: I'm your Bhoy, Celtic and an even better boss than when I left

In an almost silent Celtic Park, striker Leigh Griffiths fired in his 38th goal of the season midway through the first-half but Staggies midfielder Stewart Murdoch levelled in the 64th minute.

Celtic are nine points ahead of Aberdeen with four games remaining and could win their fifth successive title next weekend. Deila acknowledged the lack of atmosphere but called for unity as he looks for the Hoops to finish in style, starting with the trip to Tynecastle next Saturday.

He said: "Everything that had gone on this week had affected the occasion. You can see that in some of the confidence of the boys but this is the circumstances now. I can also understand the fans, but it doesn't help.

"It is not easy to play under but it is something we have to deal with. We wanted a better performance and I am sure we will get that. I don't think anything will come out this week and we can focus on Saturday.

"Now we have to stick together, work really hard, have fun in the last four games, get the best out of each other and we know we have a lot of quality to get over the line and in a good way."

The banners displayed before kick-off were aimed at chief executive Peter Lawwell and major shareholder Dermot Desmond and said: "Lawell (sic) and Desmond's legacy; empty jerseys; empty hearts; empty dreams; empty stands."

Other banners read: "From boardroom to dressing room; You've embarrassed yourselves; The Celtic jersey has shrunk to fit inferior players"

When asked why Lawwell had visited the dressing room after the game had concluded, Deila said: "He spoke to me, not the players.

"We speak together all the time so it is nothing new."

Celtic: Gordon, Lustig, Sviatchenko, Mulgrew (Ambrose 90), Tierney, Bitton, Brown, Roberts, Rogic (McGregor 65), Kazim-Richards (Commons 81), Griffiths.

Subs Not Used: Armstrong, Mackay-Steven, Christie, Bailly.

Booked: Lustig.

Goals: Griffiths 23.

Ross County: Fox, Fraser, Robertson, Quinn, Franks (De Vita 79), Gardyne, McShane, Irvine, Murdoch, Schalk (Graham 90), Boyce (Goodwillie 60).

Subs Not Used: Boyd, Dingwall, Woods, McLaughlin.

Booked: Murdoch, De Vita.

Goals: Murdoch 64.

Referee: Don Robertson

 

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