herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

Celtic boss Ronny Deila 'delighted' with battling draw against Ajax

Ajax's Viktor Fischer controls the ball during the Europe League Group A soccer match between Ajax Amsterdam and Celtic Glasgow at the ArenA stadium in Amsterdam
Ajax's Viktor Fischer controls the ball during the Europe League Group A soccer match between Ajax Amsterdam and Celtic Glasgow at the ArenA stadium in Amsterdam

Boss Ronny Deila is hoping Celtic's encouraging 2-2 Europa League draw with Ajax on Thursday evening can help get them immediately back on track domestically.

The Hoops boss was under some pressure ahead of the Group A opener at the Amsterdam ArenA after the champions lost their place at the top of Ladbrokes Premiership to Aberdeen following their 2-1 defeat by the Dons at Pittodrie on Saturday, and after being knocked out of their Champions League play-off by Malmo.

Deila's side responded in positive fashion in Holland.

Had it not been for Emilio Izaguirre's sending-off in the 73rd minute for picking up a second yellow card, the Scottish champions might well have gone into Sunday's home league game against Dundee with three points.

In an absorbing encounter, right-back Mikael Lustig headed the Parkhead men into an interval lead in the 42nd minute after Danish midfielder Viktor Fischer had cancelled out midfielder Nir Bitton's eighth-minute opener.

Celtic looked assured after the break but when Izaguirre was dismissed the home side came storming back with substitute Lasse Schone scoring from a free-kick in the 84th minute.

Deila's side held out for a point but the Norwegian boss was heartened by most aspects of the performance.

He said: "The players showed that they can bounce back. We got a point and now it is about getting ready for Sunday and start winning games in the league as well.

"For me, it's attitude, discipline and organisation and the boys showed me that they really wanted to fight.

"We got one point away in Amsterdam and that could be important at the end of the group.

"Everyone knows we are a good team and can play good football but we needed a performance and some confidence and if you can back that up with points it makes it easy.

"We got a point, it could have been three but we had a good performance and that gives us a lot of energy and confidence."

Promoted articles

Entertainment News