Saturday 21 January 2017

Celtic boss Ronny Deila defends distraught Efe Ambrose after howler

Ronnie Esplin

Published 02/10/2015 | 16:22

Celtic's Nigerian defender Efe Ambrose (R) vies with Fenerbahce's Brazilian striker Fernandao (L) in the build up to Ferbahce's first goal during UEFA Europa League group A football match between Celtic and Fenerbahce at Celtic Park
Celtic's Nigerian defender Efe Ambrose (R) vies with Fenerbahce's Brazilian striker Fernandao (L) in the build up to Ferbahce's first goal during UEFA Europa League group A football match between Celtic and Fenerbahce at Celtic Park

Ronny Deila admits he will have to rebuild the confidence of "sad" Efe Ambrose following his Europa League nightmare against Fenerbahce on Thursday night.

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The Hoops were cruising in their Group A game against the Turkish side through goals from Leigh Griffiths and Kris Commons until the Nigeria defender was woefully short with a back header two minutes before the break, allowing substitute Fernandao to pull a goal back and turn the match on its head.

The Brazilian striker then escaped the attention of the 26-year-old former Ashdod player to head in the equaliser from a corner three minutes after the restart, with the home side having to settle for a draw.

Ambrose is suspended for the trip to Hamilton in the Ladbrokes Premiership on Sunday, which the Norwegian boss described as "the worst thing he needs".

"Everybody understands that he made a mistake for the first goal, but we are a team and we have to build him up again because he is, of course, very, very sad that he made that mistake," said Deila.

"He was very down, of course, but he sees that he has improved a lot and feels that he is in good shape.

"For 98 per cent of the game he played well, but as a central defender and goalkeeper you are vulnerable for mistakes and if you make one it cost you points.

"You can't do anything else than work hard in training to be concentrated in every match, try to improve what you do in matches and he has improved.

"He was the best player available to play that match. He played well for two or three matches and he has a lot of experience. We know and he knows the issues that he has to work on and we are working on them every day.

"As I said 98 per cent of what he did last night was good, but of course you remember the two per cent that wasn't at the level you want it to be.

"You have to get back again and play a good full match again.

"The worst thing he needs is to remember the last game. Football is like that, you remember the last thing you have done.

"He wants to play football again. He will be with the Nigeria team and will come back after that and be ready to play for Celtic."

Deila is hoping that Griffiths, who scored his 11th goal of the season against Fenerbahce, will learn from the suspended two-match ban and £2,500 fine he was given for singing an offensive 'refugee' song about former Hearts player Rudi Skacel.

The 25-year-old was admonished by a sheriff after admitting in court his part in the incident, which took place in a pub before a Hearts versus Hibernian derby game at Tynecastle in March 2014.

A Scottish Football Association disciplinary tribunal found that Griffiths was guilty of "not acting in the best interests of association football" and imposed a punishment described by Deila as "a fair and okay solution".

Last year Aleksandar Tonev, while on loan at Celtic from Aston Villa, lost his appeal against a seven-match ban for racially abusing Aberdeen's Shay Logan.

Deila wants the former Hibs player's off-field discretion to be the last of its kind.

The former Stromsgodset boss said: "We are happy that Leigh is available for us.

"He now needs to be disciplined and keep himself out of trouble.

"We don't want to be involved in cases like that. That's very clear.

"Everybody knows that these things that happen are not good and we have to do something about it.

"I don't want to talk about the Tonev case, that was word against word.

"Leigh has said that he is sorry and he will learn from it and hopefully so will others."

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