CELTIC manager Ronny Deila accused Kris Commons of a lack of respect on a night when the Scottish champions’ Europa League hopes were severely dented in Molde.
A painful 3-1 defeat, which sent Deila’s team to the bottom of Group A, was compounded by a furious reaction from their goalscorer Commons to a surprising decision to replace him in the closing stages.
Commons aimed a verbal assault at the Celtic bench, with assistant manager John Collins and coach John Kennedy bearing the brunt of his ire, when he made way for Nadir Ciftci in the 76th minute.
“That’s not acceptable,” said Deila. “We are a team. I understand people can be disappointed at getting taken off but to show it that way is not how we want it at Celtic. It’s not about one player. It is very disrespectful to everybody else. I have spoken to Kris, of course.
“It’s something we can’t have in the team. We have to talk about it. It’s not about punishing people. It is about understanding. [What Kris said] was to everybody. What was said in the dressing room afterwards is between us and we will move on.”
Asked why he made the change, Deila said: “It’s always a matter of having balance between attacking and defending. You can’t just put on four forwards. You need someone who can defend as well.
“We wanted two strikers on, we needed balance in midfield. Whenever Molde got the ball they counter attacked us. It’s also about us having a lot of games coming up and Kris will be important in them as well.”
Celtic fell 2-0 behind in the opening 18 minutes to goals from Ola Kamara and Vegard Forren on a wet and windy night in Molde. Commons halved the deficit ten minutes into the second half but Celtic conceded a third straight from the restart.
It leaves them with just two points from their first three games in Group A and under pressure to win their next two, both at home, against Molde on 5 November and Ajax three weeks later. Fenerbahce, whom Celtic face in Istanbul in their final match in December, recorded their first win in the group when they defeated Ajax 1-0 last night.
“I’m very disappointed,” said Deila as he reflected on a dismal return to his homeland as Celtic manager. “We performed not at level we should do. We started OK in the first five or ten minutes, then Molde scored and we got stressed.
“We just played in front of them, not enough behind them. The game went the way they wanted. They got the ball in good situations and counter-attacked us. We should have created more.
“In the second half we started better, we scored but then conceded another bad goal.
“I expected much better and I’m very disappointed. It makes it much harder for us to qualify but we have two home games now. We have to beat Molde then it could be a chance again. But we definitely need to beat Molde and also Ajax at home.”