RONNY Deila will immediately begin plotting Celtic’s Champions League qualifying campaign after Dundee United’s defeat of Aberdeen yesterday ensured that the Glasgow club won the Premiership title.
Deila’s first championship in Scotland, and the club’s fourth straight league success, was savoured by the Norwegian as he attended the confirmation of his 15-year-old daughters Thale and Live in a church ceremony in his home city of Drammen. Deila said the triumph with Celtic is one to build on as much as savour.
“We have worked so hard for this and finally we are there and can start thinking of next season,” he told the club’s website. “There is always high pressure here and I put high demands on myself as well. We have achieved a big thing, winning the league for a fourth time, and hope there will be more and more.
“Defensively we have been unbelievable and have hardly conceded a goal [they lost 17]. Offensively we have been getting better and better and scored five beautiful goals against Dundee on Friday night.”
Club captain Scott Brown homed in on the progress made by the team across Deila’s first season as pivotal to his fifth title triumph and ninth winners’ medal with the club. An upswing illustrated by the fact that in the second half of the season – the past 20 games – they have dropped only five points. In the first nine games of the campaign, they dropped ten points.
“We showed our class on the pitch and played some great football at points, and this squad is just getting stronger and stronger,” he said. “We started off quite sloppy under a new manager but we have just kicked on and gone from strength to strength. Everyone was talking about Aberdeen catching us but we’ve been under no pressure. We just had to keep winning which is what we’ve done.”
Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell, meanwhile, praised supporters for their continued financial commitment. The numbers turning to watch games at Celtic Park have unquestionably dipped, but Lawwell said: “At the moment we still have the third-highest season book numbers in the UK after Manchester United and Arsenal, and what a fantastic achievement that is. Times are not easy and they’ve stuck by us. We have had transition, we have had change and I’d like to thank every one of them. Over the past number of years they have been magnificent, and particularly in the past two or three.”