CELTIC manager Ronny Deila admitted his team were fortunate to defeat Hamilton Accies 2-1 at New Douglas Park and close the gap on Scottish Premiership leaders Aberdeen to just a point.
But Deila insists the Scottish champions were due the breaks which came their way and says they are now “breathing down the necks” of their stuttering challengers from Pittodrie.
Celtic had to come from behind to take all three points against Accies, goals from Dedryck Boyata and Leigh Griffiths cancelling out Gramoz Kurtaj’s early opener, as they struggled for long periods. “Today we were a bit lucky but in other games this season we have been unlucky,” said Deila.
“We should have beaten Hearts 4-0 when we drew 0-0 with them last week and should have won at Kilmarnock when we drew 2-2 there earlier. In the end, you get what you deserve.
“It was a very tough game. We started poorly but then came back and were very effective to get to 2-1. This was a day to fight for the points and come through it.
“We have played a lot of games recently and had a Europa League match just two and a half days before this one. Players are tired and have issues to handle. We showed character and discipline to come back and win today.”
Asked if he felt Aberdeen were now feeling the pressure of leading the league, having lost their last two games after a previously perfect start to the season, Deila replied: “It’s early to feel pressure. We have only played ten games. We will push on and see at the end of March who is in the title race and who is not.”
Hamilton Accies manager Martin Canning was left with mixed emotions after his team’s first home defeat for eight months.
“We showed Celtic too much respect in the first half and the goals we conceded were sloppy,” said Canning. “But we were different class in the second half and no-one could have complained if we had taken something from the game.”
Deila believes that Charlie Mulgrew will now almost certainly drop out of the Scotland squad.
Mulgrew has been missing for Celtic recently with a thigh injury and Deila expects him to fail the national team’s fitness assessment ahead of Thursday’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Poland at Hampden.