Ronny Deila has admitted Celtic will surrender their status as Scottish champions this season unless they improve on the performance levels which saw them drop two more points at home to Dundee last night.
Celtic’s lead at the top of the Premiership was cut to four points with ten games remaining as their title rivals Aberdeen won 1-0 at Dundee United. Deila’s team were jeered off the pitch at both half-time and full-time as the scrutiny over the Norwegian’s managerial tenure intensified once more.
“Yes, yes, that’s for sure,” said Deila when asked if Celtic were in danger of losing out in the title race on current form.
“You don’t need to think about it. We have to be at a totally different level But we also know how good we can be when we are at our best, so it is about details and getting the good feeling back again.
“I am very, very disappointed. The whole team is very disappointed and the whole performance wasn’t good enough. There have been a few games in a row now when we have not shown our best. Today it feels like we were always one metre behind. It wasn’t like it was one player worse than others. That’s about energy. We need to get confidence and energy into the team.
“I understand the fans are irritated, like we are. The players understand it as well. But I know the Celtic fans will stay behind their team. But we have to show ourselves as a better team than we were tonight.
“If you don’t take three points at home, that is a worry. You can be unlucky, be we were not unlucky here. That’s what worries us.”
Celtic captain Scott Brown admitted he and his team-mates could have no complaints at the angry reaction of the supporters.
“We deserved that,” said Brown. “That’s been a few games now when we’ve let ourselves down and it’s not been good enough football, it’s been long balls and we’ve not done well and not created a lot of chances. I understand the fans’ frustrations.
“We’re devastated tonight. We’ve let everyone down. It’s not good enough. We knew Aberdeen would win tonight and it was on us to win as well. We’ve not done ourselves any justice.
“We should be making this place a fortress like it used to be, and it’s not been that in recent months.”
Dundee manager Paul Hartley was left to reflect with both satisfaction and a sense of what might have been.
“We were on the front foot in the end and could have won it,” said Hartley. “It was a great performance and our game plan worked. We didn’t just park the bus, we pressed Celtic high up the pitch and worked them. They didn’t create many chances. People will look at it and say it was a poor Celtic performance, but we should get a lot of credit tonight.”