Celtic boss Ronny Deila sad but proud as he prepares for the exit door
Ronny Deila's decision to leave Celtic at the end of the season left him "sad" but he is adamant he will depart with his head held high.
The Norwegian's imminent departure was announced in a club statement on Wednesday morning and came after the Hoops were beaten by Old Firm rivals Rangers in a dramatic penalty shoot-out in Sunday's Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden Park.
Deila, who took over in 2014, claimed the lack of improvement in his side over the last six months left him with no option but to stand down.
Asked how he had felt after arriving at his decision, the former Stromsgodset boss, on course for his second successive Scottish Premiership title after winning a league and League Cup double last season, said: "Sad, but at the same time I would do it 100 times again if I got the opportunity.
"We have won a lot of games and hopefully we can sit there with three trophies after it (two years) but we have lost some important games.
"I feel no bitterness. I have played a big role at this club in the last two years and it makes me proud.
"I have given everything and I will give everything in the last five games.
"Whatever people may say, I am not big enough for the club or whatever, I have given everything and I will always hold my head high.
"And I am very motivated to stay in this crazy football world because I have learned even more now and I am looking forward to the future."
The Hoops are eight points clear of Aberdeen at the top of the table with five post-split games remaining, the first of which is against Ross County at Celtic Park on Sunday.
However, Deila claimed that his side, despite him turning "every stone that can be turned" looking for a solution, had not taken the steps forward he had been looking for this season.
"It has been a tough week, there has been a lot of thinking and it hasn't started this week either," he said.
"I haven't felt the team has got the results they should have and, maybe more importantly, the performance and improvement I wanted.
"When I came in to the job I talked about improving the team and playing attractive football and I think the last six months we haven't had the improvement that we need.
"One of the reasons we haven't had that improvement is because of the pressure and speculation around me all the time.
"That is why I think it is best for the club that new energy is coming into the club next season and now we can really focus on winning the five games and getting five (titles) in a row.''
Much has been made of Celtic's unwieldy squad, with speculation as to whether Deila was behind all the signings but he took full responsibility for recruitment.
"I know there has been a lot of speculation around this as well," he said.
"One: I sign the players so don't think about that. There is not one player who came in that door that I didn't say yes to.
"Two: I knew what I came into when I took this job. This club wanted to be drifted in a positive way and have a positive economy.
"That was said before I came here and is being said now. I have no problems, I had unbelievable communication with the board, with Peter (Lawwell, chief executive) in bad times and good times.
"That is why I am not a bitter man. I feel that I have been given the chance."
Deila, though, admitted that some Celtic players will be happy that he is leaving.
"Some will be a little bit sad, some will be happy," he said.
"When you have a big squad some are not as happy as others if they don't play."