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Rattled Ronny backs his Bhoys to rise to the challenge

By Robert Jones

Published 20/08/2015

Celtic's Leigh Griffiths scores his side's first goal of the game
Celtic's Leigh Griffiths scores his side's first goal of the game

Ronny Deila insists he is not scared of the prospect of going to Malmo after a last-gasp goal from former Hoops loanee Jo Inge Berget dented Celtic's Champions League hopes as the hosts squeezed out a 3-2 win at Parkhead.

Leigh Griffiths gave the Scottish champions the lead in the third minute of the play-off first leg before midfielder Nir Bitton headed in a second from a Stefan Johansen corner.

Berget, who had a short and unsuccessful loan spell with the Bhoys last season, pulled a goal back in the 52nd minute with a wonderful volley before Griffiths headed in his second and sixth of the season in the 61st minute to make it 3-1 to Celtic.

But in the fifth of five added-on minutes, Berget scored from close range to make next week's return leg in Sweden more fraught than it ought to have been against a Malmo side that overturned a 2-0 first-leg deficit against Salzburg in the previous round.

However, Deila, who revealed right-back Mikael Lustig's hamstring injury "doesn't look well", said: "No, it doesn't scare me. I said they were a good team and it is small details that make you win or lose in these European ties.

"We are ahead with one goal. Of course we can beat Malmo away.

"But they have to beat us and that is a positive thing.

"They have to attack us and that can suit us.

"I am disappointed, of course, to concede a goal in the last second but it happened.

"We are one goal ahead and they have to beat us in Malmo.

"It could be a better result but it was an okay result.

"They scored almost with the only two chances they had, which is disappointing but we have to see after the second leg.

"We played well at the start of the game, we were all over them and scored two goals, so it was a little bit disappointing in the end but I have belief that we can do it in Malmo."

On familiar face Berget returning to haunt the Hoops, Deila said: "It doesn't hurt more at all. That's just how it is. The first goal was a very good shot, all credit to him, but we should have stopped it well before it got to him."

Deila's Malmo counterpart and fellow Norwegian Age Hareide said: "It's important to get the goals. Our start was terrible, we were asleep in the beginning.

"I think that's maybe because we're coming into the atmosphere and it took us time to come over it.

"In the second half we showed that we were a more physical side than Celtic and we also played a lot better."

Celtic will probably have to avoid defeat in Sweden if they are to return to European football's elite competition.

Belfast Telegraph

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