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Europa League: Celtic boss Ronny Deila confident about future as defeat turns up pressure

Celtic 1-2 Molde

By Staff Reporter

Ronny Deila remains confident of his Celtic future and the club's Europa League prospects despite last night's 2-1 home defeat by Molde keeping them bottom of Group A.

The Norwegian outfit clinched qualification with goals from Mohamed Elyounoussi and skipper Daniel Hestad, either side of a Kris Commons leveller, with Bhoys midfielder Nir Bitton red carded in the second-half for a last man foul on Molde substitute Ola Kamara.

Deila's side have two points from four games and need to beat Ajax at home and Fenerbahce away to qualify, and will have Bitton and Stefan Johansen suspended for the visit of the Dutch side on November 26.

After yet another disappointing night in Europe - Deila has passed up on three chances to qualify for the Champions League since taking over from Neil Lennon in 2014 - the spotlight turns on the Norwegian again.

However, when asked if he was still confident that he would be given the time needed, he replied: "Yes, I am confident about that. We have done very well domestically. In Europe we haven't reached that level that we want but we are going to improve.

"I am not thinking about my position. I am going to work hard to turn this around and be ready for next year - and the last two Europa League games."

Ajax moved on to three points and Fenerbahce to five following their goalless draw in Amsterdam.

Celtic drew 2-2 with both clubs earlier in the campaign which gives Deila hope. He said: "Qualifying is realistic, of course. We have a draw against both teams before.

"Molde showed they are the best team in the group. We can beat Ajax here and we can beat Fenerbahce down there. We are going to fight to the end for those six points.

"It was individual mistakes again. We need to have much more character and pride.

"We have to win challenges and we lost that game inside the two boxes and that is disappointing."

Defender Jozo Simunovic declared himself fit before the game but lasted five minutes before he went off.

The Croatian defender was replaced by Tyler Blackett, who was himself substituted in the second-half for attacker Nadir Ciftci.

Deila said: "Jozo was 100 per cent fit and he got a knock and twisted his ankle. But he was ready, he was tested before the game."

Molde's win took them through to the knockout stages for the first time which "delighted" Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who only returned for his second spell as boss before the 3-1 win over Celtic in Norway last month.

The former Manchester United striker urged the Parkhead board to keep faith with fellow Norwegian Deila.

He said: "He has been under a lot of pressure since he first came to Celtic. If I was them (the Celtic board) I would stick with Ronny.

"I know Ronny and I know his ideas of playing football and he is a very good coach."       

CELTIC: Gordon, Lustig, Boyata, Simunovic (Blackett 9 (Ciftci 69)), Tierney Bitton (sent off), Johansen, Commons (Forrest 45), Rogic, Armstrong, Griffiths. Goal: Commons 26. Subs not used: Izaguirre, Ambrose, Mackay-Steven, Bailly.

MOLDE: Horvath, Linnes, Toivio, Forren, Rindaroy, Hussain (Gabrielsen 95), Hestad, Singh, Moström (Hestad 62), Hoiland (Kamara 45), Elyounoussi.

Goals: Elyounoussi 21, Hestad 37

Subs not used: Semb Berge, Flo, Pinto Moraes Junior, Da Silva.

Man of the match: Hestad

Match rating: 6/10 Ref: Slavko Vincic

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