Saturday 22 October 2016

Ronny Deila: Celtic's season has been 'like heaven and hell'


Ronny Deila has described his first season as Celtic boss as a combination of “hell and heaven.”

The Norwegian took over from Neil Lennon last summer but after a rather frantic pre-season and while still getting used to his squad - and they to him - two chances to reach the group stages of the Champions League were passed up.

After losing 6-1 on aggregate to Legia Warsaw, Celtic were reinstated due to an administration error by the Polish club but contrived to lose the play-off to Slovenian side Maribor.

However, Deila slowly put his stamp on the club and guided the Hoops out of the Europa League group stage before they were beaten 4-3 on aggregate by Inter Milan in the last 32.

And after domestic dominance was established, Celtic captured the Scottish League Cup in March with a Hampden win over Dundee United and were confirmed as Scottish Premiership champions at the weekend when challengers Aberdeen failed to win at Tannadice.

Deila, speaking at Celtic Park ahead of the trip to Pittodrie on Sunday, said: “It has been an unbelievably good experience for me,” he said.

“It has been tough at times and very happy at times and that’s why you love football.

“It is hell or heaven and you have to be used to it and you have to love having sh**** times and to turn it around and be happy because it is never something in between.”

Deila has urged his Dutch centre-back partner Virgil van Dijk, linked with a number of clubs including Arsenal, to stay at Parkhead: “He is a very good player but still we can make him better. He should go to the biggest clubs in the league, not the small clubs in the biggest leagues with money.”

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