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Leigh Griffiths makes vow to give boss Deila a big send off from Celtic

By Ronnie Esplin

Published 23/04/2016

Shock: Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths was surprised and disappointed to learn that manager Ronny Deila is leaving
Shock: Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths was surprised and disappointed to learn that manager Ronny Deila is leaving

Celtic will have to overcome a double blow when they resume their Scottish Premiership title race against Ross County at Parkhead tomorrow, according to striker Leigh Griffiths.

The league leaders were knocked out of the Scottish Cup by Old Firm rivals Rangers in a dramatic semi-final penalty shoot-out at Hampden Park last weekend, despite going into the game as heavy favourites.

Subsequently, if not consequently, manager Ronny Deila announced on Wednesday morning that he would be leaving the club at the end of the season, his second campaign in charge.

The search for a new boss is under way, but 37-goal Griffiths stressed that the team will not lose sight of securing the title for the fifth successive season while helping to send Deila on his way by winning him his third trophy in two years, after a league and League Cup double last season.

The 25-year-old said: "After Sunday's defeat and then the gaffer coming out with that, it was a shock to everybody, but we've still got five games left to give him the perfect send-off.

"He told us just before we went out to train on Wednesday morning that he had decided to step down as manager and as a whole, the squad was disappointed.

"Hopefully at the end of the season he'll look back on his time and he has delivered three trophies in two years. He can count that as a success.

"The European campaigns obviously haven't been great and the cup runs haven't been great, but we got two trophies last year and we are looking to get five in-a-row."

Griffiths took several months to convince Deila he was the man to lead the line after the Norwegian arrived in the summer of 2014 and the former Wolves striker knows he will have to do it all again to impress the next boss.

"After the first four or five months I didn't look back and come pre-season I will have to do it all over again," he said.

"First and foremost, we still have to win the next five games to win the league.

"After that it is up to the club to decide who they bring in and hopefully we hit the ground running in pre-season.

"Hopefully the new manager coming in, he will see what I have done this season and towards the end of last season and hopefully we can kick on from there."

Deila cited the lack of progress and improvement in performances as the reason behind his impending departure.

Fans became frustrated following successive failures in Europe, but Deila refused to point the finger at anything else and was big enough to take the blame for such things squarely on his own shoulders.

"I feel that I have been given the chance and I felt lately we haven't had the development we wanted in the team," said the Norwegian.

"I don't have any problems with the players, I can look everyone in the eye and they can look into my eyes.

"It is easy to say this player is bad and this player is bad. The responsibility is with the manager.

"The players here are good and if you don't get the best out of them, then you have to look at yourself in the mirror and I have done that."

Dedryck Boyata is a doubt for the clash with Ross County. The Hoops defender came off with a knock in last week's defeat against Rangers.

Centre-back Jozo Simunovic remains out with a knee injury.


Ross County

Scottish Premiership:

Celtic Park, Sunday 3.00pm

Belfast Telegraph

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