CELTIC manager Ronny Deila has praised his players’ resilience in overcoming what he claims is a widespread desire in Scotland for them to fail.
Deila’s team responded to their midweek Europa League defeat in Molde with a 5-0 win over Dundee United at Celtic Park, moving them four points clear of faltering Aberdeen at the top of the Scottish Premiership.
I haven’t done it every time. I just didn’t feel for it today and that’s my thingDeila on the ‘Ronny Roar’
Just five weeks ago, they were five points behind the Dons but are now firmly back on course to claim a fifth consecutive title for the club.
“Everybody wants us down, except of course the Celtic fans,” said Deila. “When you have done a lot of good things, the demands get very, very high. That’s how it is at big clubs like this.
“If you look around, now it is Aberdeen getting troubles but it is not the same pressure on them as there is on Celtic.
“But that’s how it is here and everybody has to cope with it. You need character to do what we did today.
“There were a lot of brave players out there, you also saw players have fun and that’s the most important thing in football.
“It is hard demands here at Celtic. At a successful club, you are always winning trophies. Now we have won the league four times in a row and will hopefully do it a fifth time. We are winning cups as well.
“It was a very, very good performance today. I’m proud of the boys. It was tough after playing a Europa League tie on Thursday. But today we did everything. We had a lot of chances and United hardly had a shot on target.
“We scored five goals and had a lot of good individual performances. We were very compact, structured and disciplined for the whole game.
“It is needed every game we play and that’s what we want. Now we are four points ahead. A few weeks ago, we got a lot of criticism because we were five points behind.
“Now we are suddenly turning it around in a month and that’s something we should be proud of.”
Despite his satisfaction at the result, Deila did not indulge in his trademark post-match ritual after a victory of engaging with the Celtic fans in what has been termed the “Ronny roar”. The Norwegian had been subjected to considerable criticism from supporters after the Molde defeat.
“I haven’t done it every time,” said Deila. “Celtic Park is a big stadium to go around. Today, I didn’t feel like it. I just didn’t feel for it today and that’s my thing. But it will come back, it will come back.”
Deila was unable to shed any light, meanwhile, on suggestions Celtic are interested in taking up a US soccer franchise when the North American Soccer League expands in 2018.
“I don’t know anything about those things. It has to come from other places,” he said. “I think I should keep concentrating on the team and others can talk about that.”
Dundee United manager Mixu Paatelainen was scathing in his criticism of his players after his second successive defeat since replacing Jackie McNamara left them five points adrift at the bottom of the table.
“It was rubbish with a capital ‘R’,” said Paatelainen. “You can set out your tactics and prepare for the match but if you don’t do the basic things right then everything goes into the rubbish bin.
“We did not do the things we had to in order to eliminate the quality and movement of Celtic players.
“I’m not surprised Dundee United are bottom of the league as we don’t get the basic things right, it’s as simple as that.
“We were horrendous today and it was a painful experience. The worrying thing is that for some of the players the message doesn’t go in no matter how clearly you put it to them.
“We have a long way to go before it gets right. It’s not something which will be fixed in two or three weeks. It’s going to be a long, long autumn and winter for us.”