RONNY Deila has insisted he is not concerned by Celtic’s latest setback under his guidance and claims they are making progress despite their shock 1-0 defeat at home to Hamilton Accies.
Ali Crawford scored the only goal of the game to send Hamilton to the top of the Scottish Premiership table as Celtic lost at home in the league for the first time in almost two years.
They have now dropped ten points in their first eight Premiership fixtures under Deila to sit sixth in the table, six points behind Accies with a game in hand.
Celtic were jeered off the pitch yesterday and their performance also prompted a damning verdict from captain Scott Brown, who accused some of his team-mates of “hiding” during the match,
But Deila was adamant his team had performed well, with only the lack of a finishing touch in front of goal letting them down.
“I’m not worried at all,” said Deila. “I think we’re progressing again. When you have ten to 15 chances in a game, you have played quite well.
“We got the full-backs more into the attack, we got more set-plays, more crosses. Today we just had to win the game on the chances we had. But of course you need to put the ball in the net and that’s about football.
“So the result is very disappointing, that we couldn’t get anything more out of so many chances. With so many chances, you should win the game, no question.
“But it’s about creating and taking chances, it’s about results. Today was just a very tough day at work. I’m very disappointed, the players are as well.
“I understand the fans booing at full-time. We have to win games and today we didn’t win. We need to get 10 per cent more. If you are 10 per cent down in attitude or preparation for the game, things get dangerous.
“We need that determination, to really want to get that ball into the net. Today, we had more to go in that area. It was a bit too sloppy. The runs into the box weren’t powerful enough, we needed more accuracy and more determination.
“To lose at home is not something we want. But again, in football, things happen. It’s about what you do with it.
“We have to turn this around and bounce back. We are still in every competition, with opportunities to have a very good season.”
Brown, however, was firmly at odds with his manager in assessing Celtic’s performance when he made a grim-faced appearance in the media room.
“We didn’t deserve anything,” said Brown. “We didn’t play as well as we should have. We didn’t have enough movement and there weren’t enough people wanting the ball. People were just hiding and it was disappointing to see and play in.
“I take my share of the blame as well in there. I am not laying the blame at everybody else because we are all in this together as a team. It looked like we had given up fighting, we were second to balls, we didn’t have enough up front and it just wasn’t good to watch.
“I am devastated. I don’t do getting beat. I came to Celtic to win games and we are not winning games and performing just now and I don’t know why that is.
“The manager is getting there slowly. It is not just about the manager, it is also about the players. We need to deliver and if we do that then it gives the manager time as well.”
It was Hamilton’s first victory at Celtic Park since September 1938, although they also won there the following year in a wartime fixture. Rated 10-1 shots by the bookies beforehand, their win surprised everyone apart from their manager Alex Neil.
“I believed we could win and I tried to convince the players before the game we could get something here,” said Neil. “I did the same thing last season before the Hibs game at Easter Road when we got promoted.
“A lot of young players in Scotland are told they’re not this and they’re not that. It’s like, ‘That’s Celtic, you can’t beat them’. I’m doing the opposite, I’m saying, ‘It’s Celtic, but it’s 11 against 11 and if your attitude’s better and technically you can go and score and defend properly, then why can’t you win the game?’
“I think if you’re a Hamilton Accies fan and you’re not on top of the world right now, then you never will be. It’s incredible what this group of players has done in the last year and a bit. It’s not as if it’s just happened in the last couple of weeks.”
Matchwinner Crawford believes Hamilton can even begin to dream of European qualification this season, rather than just their primary objective of top-flight survival which already seems a certainty. “If you’d said to me a couple of months ago that we would be top of the league in October, I’d have thought you were talking rubbish,” said the midfielder.
“It’s amazing to win at Celtic Park and words can’t describe how good it feels. You dream of scoring the winner here but to go out and do it is unbelievable.
“The sky is the limit for us and I don’t think we have got much to fear with the way we are playing. Anything is possible but we just want to finish as high up the league as we can and if that happens to be Europe, then so be it.”
Elsewhere yesterday, Inverness and Ross County drew 1-1 in the Highland derby.