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Wednesday 7 December 2016

'Roberts will be hard to leave out'

Patrick Roberts celebrateshis goal in the Scottish Premiership win over Hearts on Saturday. Photo: PA
Patrick Roberts celebrateshis goal in the Scottish Premiership win over Hearts on Saturday. Photo: PA

Ronny Deila admits Patrick Roberts will be hard to leave out his Celtic side after the on-loan winger scored a double in the 3-1 win over Hearts at Parkhead which took the Hoops seven points clear at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership.

Jamie Walker fired the visitors ahead in the sixth minute before midfielder Gary Mackay-Steven cancelled it out in the 15th minute with a fine strike.

Roberts had the Hoops ahead at the interval with his first senior goal, a clever dink over Gorgie keeper Neil Alexander, and the 19-year-old grabbed his second four minutes after the restart with a drive as the home side stretched their lead over Aberdeen.

Hearts defender Juwon Oshaniwa sent off by referee Bobby Madden in injury time for picking up the second of two yellow cards for a foul on Nir Bitton.

It was only Roberts' second start since joining from Manchester City in January on an 18-month loan deal and afterwards Deila said: "He was very good. He was involved maybe seven or eight times on the ball and scored twice, what more can you expect?

"It will be hard to leave him out. Every time he has it in the right places something happens. We need to keep feeding him the ball.

Important

"I went to watch him in the (England) under-19s on Tuesday against Spain (in Spain), that was good for me to see him there as well. He is an important player for us but we have many good players. We have three games so we will see what we will do."

Just before the break Celtic midfielder Tom Rogic clashed heads with Oshaniwa in a challenge, with the Hearts player being booked as he waited to come back on to the field with a bandage on his head following treatment.

The Australia midfielder also received treatment but played on only for a few more minutes before being replaced by Bitton.

Deila said: "He was dizzy on the pitch and I had to take him off, he couldn't answer the right questions. He knew the score but I asked him if we had to change or not he shrugged - it is hard for a manager to understand what he is meaning. But we had to take him off. We will see tomorrow but I think it is okay."

Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson was miffed that Hoops skipper Scott Brown escaped any punishment from referee Madden for a sliding challenge on striker Juanma in the first couple of minutes. He said: "I felt there should be (some sort of action) but it's Parkhead, it doesn't happen for you."

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