THE simmering tension between Dundee United and Celtic threatened to boil over again last night as United manager Jackie McNamara accused his Parkhead counterpart Ronny Deila of inflaming the situation.
McNamara spoke out ahead of today’s Scottish Premiership clash in Glasgow which will be the fourth time the rivals have met in the past fortnight. There have been six red cards in the last three meetings.
Deila branded United defender Ryan McGowan’s tackle on Liam Henderson as “career-threatening” after Celtic had won Wednesday night’s Scottish Cup quarter-final replay 4-0 at Parkhead, having earlier accused Tannadice youngster Aidan Connolly of diving prior in the 1-1 draw in the first game at Tannadice.
McNamara has strongly criticised the Norwegian who is chasing a domestic treble in his first season at Celtic and cited the “enormous pressure” as a possible factor in triggering Deila’s recent outbursts.
“Everything has just kind of boiled up over the last two weeks, but I understand the pressure Ronny Deila is under,” McNamara said. “He’s under pressure to succeed and win a domestic treble because of the money they’ve spent and the resources they have. Celtic are under enormous pressure because of the Champions League and I understand that.
“They should be winning domestic trebles because they have spent a lot of money and nobody is close to them. With the resources Celtic have they should be winning all three trophies.
“His [Deila’s] words are not accurate or helpful, speaking about players like Aidan and now Ryan. For me there hasn’t been any real dangerous tackles. We need to get a bit of perspective here. But that’s down to pressure.
“We’re all under pressure but using words like ‘career-threatening’ and singling out players, I don’t think the Celtic manager should be doing that.
“He’ll do things his own way, but for me – he’s under pressure and sometimes these things boil over.”
McNamara felt Deila was way over the top in his criticism of McGowan’s challenge on Henderson. And he pointed to Celtic coach John Kennedy who was forced to retire from the game in the wake of a shocking late challenge by Romanian Lonel Ganea during his Scotland debut at Hampden in March 2004.
McNamara said: “Ronny has a guy on his coaching staff whose career was ended by a challenge. The one on John Kennedy was a career-ending challenge. It was an absolutely shocking challenge. That was a bad challenge. So to say that about Ryan’s challenge isn’t right. His was committed – he put everything behind it but he’s not hurt the lad. The lad has played on.”