Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Football Scottish Celtic

Dejected Deila insists Celtic job is safe after shock cup exit

By Ronnie Esplin

Boss Ronny Deila took responsibility for Celtic's latest semi-final disappointment but said he's not fearful of the impact yesterday's loss might have on his job security.

The Hoops were knocked out of the William Hill Scottish Cup at the last-four stage by Inverness last season and, after seeing his side's latest treble bid go up in smoke, Deila said: "Cups are tough things as you saw last year and you see this year as well.

"Things can happen in one game and it happened again. We went out and we are very disappointed. But there is still a lot to play for. I see a team that can be really good here and I'm going to work really hard to get us where we want."

When asked if he was worried about being sacked, Deila - who claimed goalkeeper Craig Gordon had been blocked for County's second goal which followed a corner - replied: "I'm not worried about anything. I've got big ambitions and I'm as disappointed as everyone else."

He added: "I think we started very well. The first 10 minutes was very good. We created three or four chances and we scored a beautiful goal.

"We had everything in our hands and then of course the red card changed everything again. Playing 80 minutes with 10 men made it hard for us.

"In my opinion it was a clear free-kick on Craig Gordon. He was taken out of the goal and he couldn't come back to it.

"Having said that it was poor defending from us and we got blocked out in the marking but in my opinion it was a free-kick to us. Then we have to go forward and they get one counter-attack and score. That made it hard for us.

"Scott Brown came on after that and we had more control of the midfield and attacked them more. We got a penalty and then again we made a mistake and when you do it is hard to win football matches."

Opposite number Jim McIntyre hailed his Hampden heroes but admitted he feared the worst after Gary Mackay-Steven had stroked Celtic in front with less than 30 seconds on the clock.

"It's absolutely brilliant," McIntyre said.

"The goal knocked the stuffing right out of us and Celtic were all over us and we had to hang in there.

"But then we got the penalty - a good move, a good through-ball, and Woodsy sticks it away great.

"I'm absolutely thrilled with the effort the guys gave us today. Celtic are a top side.

"The character this team keeps showing when they go goals behind - we might not always win the game but we always come back into it and make chances, and I'm absolutely chuffed for them."

McIntyre accepted that his team were underdogs for the match, given the strength of Ronny Deila's Hoops. However, McIntyre said: "There was belief in that team that we'd created chances in both games (against Celtic) this season, and even though we'd lost both games we knew if we created them again it was a matter of taking them, and I can't ask for any more than what the players gave us."

Hibernian await the team from Dingwall in the final on March 13.

Staggies goalscorer Woods said: "It's absolutely brilliant. I'm delighted for all the boys and the staff.

"We've worked very hard for this.

"To come here and beat Celtic is a fantastic result for the club. Of course we can win the cup now."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph