Ronny Deila calls on Celtic players to win back the fans

Deila watched his side draw 0-0 with Dundee at Celtic Park on Wednesday night. Picture: PA
Deila watched his side draw 0-0 with Dundee at Celtic Park on Wednesday night. Picture: PA
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Under-pressure Celtic manager Ronny Deila would not consider the consequences of defeat against Morton as he urged his players to show more fighting spirit.

Deila’s position has come under increasing scrutiny following consecutive draws against Hamilton and Dundee, which have allowed Aberdeen to cut the gap at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership to four points.

When asked whether failure to beat Championship side Morton in the William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-finals could cost him his job, Deila said: “I’m not thinking of losing, that’s the first point.

“You can talk about losing, we want to win on Sunday, and we want to have a good performance and that’s the only thing in my mind right now.”

Consecutive defeats by Ross County, in the League Cup semi-finals, and Aberdeen a month ago had already intensified the debate about the Norwegian’s future following a disappointing European campaign.

When asked if he had been given reassurances that his job was safe, he replied: “I’ve never had that in my life, reassurances in football. That’s for sure. You have a contract, and that’s what you have to work for.

“But I have a feeling, a good feeling we are working together, and stay together. And that’s the most important thing.”

Many Celtic fans displayed less positive feelings after Wednesday’s goalless draw with Dundee as they booed their team off the park.

But a defiant-sounding Deila is convinced he can win round the supporters and pointed to the attitude of homegrown left-back Kieran Tierney as the way forward.

“I really understand how people reacted because we are not very satisfied with what we did,” he said.

“You can’t do it much worse because it was a lack of energy. They were a little bit loose, a little bit tired, and we didn’t stay together as a team. We didn’t create anything, and we got a point in the end. That’s the only little positive. We could have lost it.

“I really understand the fans, but it’s also important to understand that we need to do this together. I know the fans know that.

“Every time we go out and play they stand behind us. Every time. And they will do that in the future because they are Celtic fans.

“And we have to lift them through attitude, to show in every challenge that we want to fight for the ball and that we are a team and there’s a spirit in there. Because it’s not always about the skills, it’s about having the foundation about them.

“That’s why they love watching KT because he has that about him. And that’s what they need more of.

“And then I know also the fans will be behind us and support us, because a wrong pass can happen but we need to see desire out on the pitch.

“And that’s a little bit about confidence, but it’s also about me being clear about what we want, trying to be that all the time, and also that they feel trusted.”

Deila admitted there had maybe been too many changes in the team, although he stressed some had been enforced.

But he added: “This is about confidence. Right now the confidence is not very good because we haven’t performed for some games now in the way we want to do. We had a very good period in January but after that we have not been the same.

“And now we have to change that around, and that’s about being positive. That’s about being very clear in what I expect and what I want, and it’s about the players feeling trusted and responsible into the things that we are doing.

“And then when you do that you get good experiences and then confidence comes back again, and you can see what kind of players we have.”

The Celtic squad gathered ahead of a meeting with Deila immediately after his media conference.

“It’s about communication,” the Norwegian said. “If everybody sits in their own cage and thinks of themselves it’s going to be very isolated.

“We have to clear the air and be agreeing on the way to move forward. It’s my job to do that, so I will do that as well.”

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