Celtic 3 - 5 Dukla Prague: Deila Czechs frailties

RONNY DEILA admitted his side must improve defensively or their Champions League aspirations could be crushed early for the second season running.

Celtic defender Mikael Lustig heads back into position as Dukla Prague celebrate behind him. Picture: SNS
Celtic defender Mikael Lustig heads back into position as Dukla Prague celebrate behind him. Picture: SNS

Deila reckons his whole team is still behind in terms of sharpness as they conceded five goals to the slick Czechs but he insisted they will be ready for Icelandic champions Stjarnan on July 15.

Stjarnan coach Runar Pal Sigmundsson watched as the Scottish champions were taken apart by midfielder Marek Hanousek who scored a hat-trick and created another.

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Deila said: “I think the Stjarnan coach saw some possibilities today but he will see a different Celtic team in ten days. We can’t play like this or we will have big problems whoever we play whether it is St Johnstone, Stjarnan or Barcelona.

“I am happy with what we have defensively. It’s not about quality it’s about sharpness. We need to win the ball quicker. Defensively we didn’t play well as a team. We lost the ball too easily and they got past us.

“We scored a couple of nice goals and created some chances but defensively we were a big distance from where we normally are. We were always half a metre behind but we have to give credit to Dukla. It was a good test for us. You could see some players are behind others in terms of sharpness.

“I have to fix these problems in ten days and of course we can do that.”

Deila fielded virtually a full-strength side but they were well beaten by the Czechs. It may be all about conditioning at this stage of preparation but there were not too many great performances.

Only Scott Brown, Stefan Johansen and, to a lesser extent, Gary Mackay-Steven reached their normal standards.

Both sets of players wore black armbands in honour of Dukla Prague legend Josef Masopust who passed away last Monday aged 84.

Hanousek, who is rebuilding his career after a bad injury encouraged Czech champions Viktoria Plzen to sell him back to Dukla, grabbed a terrific hat-trick. The 23-year-old gave Dukla the lead in 13 minutes when he fired a low left-foot shot past Craig Gordon after a neat lay-off from Tomas Berger.

Celtic drew level from the penalty spot through Leigh Griffiths in 27 minutes after Mikael Lustig was bundled to turf by Matej Hanousek, no relation, after Stefan Johansen had played had played a good ball into the box. However, Hanousek netted his second in 36 minutes when Berger got past Emilio Izaguirre with some ease and laid the ball into his path. Hanousek’s first effort was blocked by Dedryk Boyata but he followed up to score with the rebound.

Celtic came back again two minutes before half-time when Johansen played a lovely lofted ball into the area where Gary Mackay-Steven was waiting and he finished clinically with his left foot. However, Dukla scored three times in the second half to claim a thoroughly deserved victory. Hanousek completed his hat-trick in 49 minutes from the penalty spot after Charlie Mulgrew brought down Daniel Tetour.

Then he set up a fourth goal for the Czechs ten minutes later with a great cross which was perfectly finished by Jakub Mares who guided a header into the left corner.

Celtic managed to pull another goal back seven minutes from time when Virgil van Dijk headed home Johansen’s free kick. But Dukla got a fifth two minutes later when Tomas Prikryl curled a fabulous right-foot shot into the right corner from the left corner of the Celtic box.

Deila would not comment on Nadir Ciftci but confirmed he would like to sign another goalkeeper having let Lukasz Zaluska leave.

Celtic: Gordon; Lustig, Boyata, Mulgrew, Izaguirre; Brown, Rogic; Forrest, Johansen, Mackay-Steven; Griffiths. Subs: Fasan, Fisher, Ambrose, Van Dijk, Tierney, Henderson, Lindsay, Nesbitt, Donnelly, Stokes, Scepovic, Janko, Thomson, Boerrigter.

Dukla Prague: Rada; Jurendic, Stetina, Jerabek, Matej Hanousek; Povzanec, Marek Hanousek, Gedeon, Mares; Berger, Beauguel. Subs: Chudy, Koval, Albich, Krimencik, Tetour, Kluk, Vrzal, Prikyrl, Hlinka.

Referee: John Beaton. Attendance: 4,826.