herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

Celtic boss Ronny Delia slams state of Scots surfaces ahead of Thistle clash

Kris Commons and Anthony Stokes
Kris Commons and Anthony Stokes
Deila

Ronny Deila agrees with Gary Teale's claim that St Mirren have one of the best pitches in the Scottish Premiership - but believes that is an indictment rather than a boast.

The Hoops boss criticised the playing surface at St Mirren Park following the Hoops' 2-0 Scottish Premiership win on Friday night and said that artificial pitches would be an improvement at most of the grounds his team are asked to visit.

Buddies boss Teale hit back, saying: "It's maybe a bit firm but it's an excellent surface. Tommy, our groundsman, wins 'pitch of the year' year after year and that's a great acknowledgement for him and a great accolade for him."

However, ahead of the home game against Partick Thistle tonight, the Norwegian was not back-tracking on his assessment and went as far as to say his side should be judged accordingly.

"I said the same (as Teale), it is one of the best in the league but that says something about the pitches in the league," said Deila.

"If that is a good pitch, then I say good luck. That is not a good pitch. I am not saying they do a bad job but the pitches are not like that in England. The ball is not bouncing around all the time.

"This is the Scottish Premiership we are talking about here. We get evaluated every game about performance; how good we are playing and entertainment and there are high demands.

"And if that is a very good pitch then the demands on us can't be so high. If you want high performances then you need good pitches."

Celtic are seven points ahead of second-placed Aberdeen having played a game less but Deila believes the title race will "open up again" if the Hoops fail to get the win.

"The game is a very big game for us," he said.

"If we win, we put pressure on Aberdeen again and if we lose then it is open again.

"Everything is possible in football. No one can take the points we have from us but we have to win more games before we win the league.

"I have never taken anything for granted in football. If you do that you can eat your words.

"So this game is important and Partick Thistle is one of the best teams at the moment.

"They have had some good results and it is going to be a good test for us.

"We have to be up for the game and have a good performance."

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