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Emotional Ronny Deila salutes ideal end to Celtic tenure

Celtic 7 - Motherwell 0

By Ronnie Esplin

Published 16/05/2016

Silver lining: Ronny Deila lifts the Premiership crown after Celtic’s 7-0 victory over Motherwell in his final game
Silver lining: Ronny Deila lifts the Premiership crown after Celtic’s 7-0 victory over Motherwell in his final game

An emotional Ronny Deila ended his reign as Celtic boss in a "perfect" way as the Hoops romped to a 7-0 win over Motherwell at Parkhead.

The Ladbrokes Premiership champions hit top form and the rout began in the 21st minute when 18-year-old left-back Kieran Tierney opened the scoring before goals from midfielder Tom Rogic and stand-in skipper Mikael Lustig made the second-half a breeze.

Stuart Armstrong and Patrick Roberts netted at the start of the second period before Ryan Christie grabbed his first Hoops goal before the hour mark and then debutant substitute Jack Aitchison - who at 16 years and 71 days became the Hoops' youngest player - made it seven with his first touch and left Celtic 15 points clear of Aberdeen at the top of the table.

Deila took the acclaim of the fans after the trophy presentation and it signalled the end of a long goodbye for the Norwegian, who confirmed last month that he would be leaving at the end of the season - with the likes of Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill and Republic assistant Roy Keane on Bhoys' chiefs' shortlist to fill the position.

Afterwards, he said: "It was perfect. It was like you had dreamed of. A very good performance, a young team out there who I think is the future of this club. It was 7-0, a sunny day as well, which is not often and a very good atmosphere as normal so it was a perfect ending for me.

"It is a very tough day. It is hard to speak about it to be honest. I am grateful to have been here. I learned so much in two fantastic years. I am going to enjoy a new life now.

"There are going to be new opportunities, but these two years will always be special but right now it is too much to take in."

Christie, playing in the unusual position as main striker in place of the suspended Leigh Griffiths, was glad to get his goal after missing a sitter in the first-half when he ballooned the ball over an empty goal.

He said: "I was delighted and it was brilliant, especially after the first-half. I don't know how I missed that one.

"The ball fell to me and I thought, 'This is a goal' and then I put it over and I don't know how I managed that.

"I was just thankful the minute it went into the back of the net. It was more relief than anything. It was a really good performance and it was a great send-off for the gaffer.

"I think everybody knew we were wanting to put on a show and the way we went about that game was brilliant."

Young forward Aitchison felt "amazing" after his dream debut coming off the bench to replace Rogic. He said: "It's brilliant, an amazing feeling. I've been dreaming of this since being a boy. It was a great atmosphere when I scored; I didn't know what to do. Hopefully I'll get more opportunities."

Motherwell boss Mark McGhee had lost 9-0 when he brought his Aberdeen side to Parkhead in 2010 and he worried it could have reached that tally again. The former Celtic striker said: "After 56 minutes and you are six down, absolutely. To get to 90 minutes with seven wasn't a bad result.

"It a horrible feeling and it is a horrible feeling when you are 3-0 down at half-time because you know what can happen here.

"This has happened to me here before. That day I felt I had a team capable of losing 9-0, I didn't think I had a team today capable of losing 7-0 so it is slightly different.

"I am more surprised than I was back then. We didn't pass, we didn't work hard enough, we looked as if we had downed tools and were ready for the summer."

CELTIC: Gordon, Lustig, Ambrose, Sviatchenko, Tierney (Izaguirre, 55 mins), McGregor, Johansen, Roberts, Rogic (Aitchison, 75 mins), Armstrong (Janko, 84 mins), Christie.

Unused subs: Bailly, Bitton, Allan, Forrest.

MOTHERWELL: Ripley, Watt, McManus, Hall, Watt (Kennedy, 46 mins), Cadden, Gomis, Pearson, Ainsworth (Chalmers, 46 mins), Moult, McDonald.

Unused subs: Samson, Laing, Leitch, Thomas, Turnbull.

Man of the Match: Stuart Armstrong

Match rating: 8/10

Referee: Euan Anderson



Belfast Telegraph

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