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Celtic's Ronny Deila refuses to panic after Dons turn up title heat

By Ronnie Espline

Ronny Deila insists he is unconcerned by Aberdeen overtaking Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

The Hoops' game against Partick Thistle at Firhill on New Year's Day was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch which allowed the Dons to leapfrog them by one point with their 2-0 home win over St Johnstone.

The Granite City club have a chance to extend that lead to four points against Motherwell tomorrow and Dundee United could also be above Celtic if they beat Partick on the same day, before the champions travel to Kilmarnock on Monday night.

However, Deila, disappointed that the Thistle game was off -"we were ready to play and wanted to play" - is relaxed about a situation few would have envisaged at the start of the season when it was widely assumed that, in the continuing absence from the top flight of traditional rivals Rangers, the Hoops would proceed unhindered to their fourth successive title.

The Celtic boss said: "I'm not concerned about that.

"It is in our hands and if we win our games we are the champions and that is what we want to do.

"We are not halfway through (league campaign) yet so there are a lot of games to go.

"This spring will be unbelievably exciting and we are looking forward to every game.

"We have a very big squad and we have performed well.

"I think we are in a good position. We could be better but we could be worse.

"We are confident that we can win every game. Every game we go into in Scotland we are favourites and that is a good thing.

"We are showing that we are controlling games and have more chances than the opponents, so it is up to us."

The Parkhead squad jet out to Gran Canaria for a winter break following their trip to Rugby Park.

Having postponed their match against St Johnstone on January 10, Deila's side could fall further behind in the title race.

However, the Norwegian believes Celtic's experience of winning the title over the past three seasons will stand them in good stead in the second-half of the campaign.

He said: "That is very important, to know the demands and know how to focus when things are tight and that is something that there is a lot of in this squad.

"We have the experience. It is about us and if we win every game we will win the league."

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