Ronny Deila ‘relaxed’ over trailing Aberdeen

Ronny Deila knows Celtic could go into Sunday's game with Hearts trailing Aberdeen. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS
Ronny Deila knows Celtic could go into Sunday's game with Hearts trailing Aberdeen. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS
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Celtic manager Ronny Deila insists he is relaxed about the prospect of trailing Aberdeen at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership before his side travel to Tynecastle on Sunday.

The 2-1 home defeat by Motherwell last week, which brought more pressure on the Norwegian following their Europa League exit, left the Parkhead side just one point ahead of the Dons with a game in hand.

Aberdeen have the chance to go top when they play Inverness on Boxing Day before Celtic’s trip to face Hearts.

But when asked if that scenario would add pressure, the Norwegian replied: “Not at all. We have everything in our hands, we don’t need to think about anybody.

“After the next game you are halfway in the season. Hopefully, if everything goes well on Sunday we could be (potentially) seven points (ahead), what are you thinking then?

“The situation is clear. We have played one game less and if we win that we are four points ahead and that is a better situation than we were in last year.

“We will see where we are when we come to May, you get your answers, I get my answers and then we can evolve.”

Deila straight-batted a question about a fans’ online petition to see him relieved of his duties and stressed his determination to get back on track in Gorgie.

He said: “Supporters have opinions and there are different opinions among the supporters as well.

“It is very important that they stand behind the team. I am sure they are doing that and I am really looking forward to Sunday to get three points.

“We will do everything we can to bounce back.

“I am very confident, very confident in the team. We are top of the league, we have won a lot in the past and we want to win a lot in the future.

“We can turn this into a very good season and that is what we want to do.

“I know that we need to step up from recently but we have done it before.”

The former Stromsgodset boss is hoping that striker Leigh Griffiths will be fit after missing three games with a calf injury.

“It is not 100 per cent but it is a possibility,” he said.

And Deila confirmed that attacking midfielder Ryan Christie had been recalled from Inverness.

The 20-year-old was signed from the Highland club in September on a four-year contract before being loaned back, although a knee injury will prevent him training until January.

“He has arrived at the club and that is a positive,” said the Celtic manager. “He is still injured but will start training around the end of January.

“He is very talented but he will have to fight with everyone else to get into the team.

“It is important to get him here, to this environment to get to know all the boys and staff and get used to the way we train and play.”

The Celtic boss also revealed that the club had started talks with James Forrest’s agent about a new contract for the winger and that Charlie Mulgrew was back running after recovering from a thigh injury.