Celtic manager welcomes return of “intensity”

Celtic  manager Ronny Deila celebrates with his players following their defeat of Hearts. Picture: SNS

Celtic manager Ronny Deila celebrates with his players following their defeat of Hearts. Picture: SNS

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RONNY Deila is hoping the Celtic versus Hearts fixture can maintain its intensity while losing its madness after their Scottish Cup fourth-round clash at Tynecastle resulted in a spat between the two clubs.

Hearts owner Ann Budge’s criticism of the behaviour of both sets of fans was weighted towards the Hoops support who occupied the Roseburn Stand during a 4-0 win for the visitors.

Budge was “appalled” at vandalism she claimed “caused the destruction of close to 100 seats” while also complaining of “intimidation” of Gorgie fans and staff.

Celtic responded with a statement outlining their own concerns and claiming that missiles were thrown into the Parkhead support to the injury of one fan, and “sectarian abuse was again directed at Celtic staff and players”.

The Parkhead boss is hoping the clubs will “sort” the problem but admits he enjoyed the passion of the game.

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“I didn’t think it was very hateful,” said the Norwegian, who revealed that Charlie Mulgrew will have a scan on a knee problem sustained in Wednesday night’s 1-0 home Scottish Premiership win over Partick Thistle at Parkhead.

“It was an intense atmosphere but that’s nice, I enjoyed it, that’s why I came here, to have these games.

“The start of the game saw a lot of intensity and it was a real battle and that makes Scottish football better.

“It is much better than going to a stadium which has no intensity and I think the players love it as well.

“I didn’t see what happened so it is not my call but generally the Celtic supporters are fantastic and I am proud when we go around Scotland and in Europe and see what atmosphere they create.

“There was a lot of people there so sometimes things happen which we have to deal with.

“In Sweden it is worse, so other countries have more problems than in Scotland.

“But is important that when families come to stadiums they feel safe.

“We want to have the focus on football and that is what we are going to do in the future.

“We are going to sort these things out with Hearts.”

After the game Deila joined his players in going to the away support in a show of solidarity, as they had done after the 2-1 victory at Aberdeen last month.

Bond

The former Stromsgodset boss admits he is trying to create a bond between the players and fans to equal that of Borussia Dortmund, most recently exemplified when players served drinks at a Christmas party for fans to thank them for their support despite the team plummeting to the bottom of the Bundesliga.

Deila said: “I did it at Aberdeen because of emotion and it was something I wanted to do every time because the fans go all over the country to support us and we have to show how much we appreciate them.

“It is harder at Celtic Park because there are so many of them and it is a big a stadium but away it is much easier because they are in one stand.

“I want to connect more with the fans because if they don’t have any connection with the players then it will be cold and people will lose interest so it is important.

“You can see in Dortmund, they do the same and I think that is one of the reasons there are 82,000 there every time.”

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