Friday 23 February 2018

No happy return for Deila after Celtic's Euro woe

Molde 3 Celtic 1

Celtic's Kris Commons remonstrates with manager Ronny Deila as he is substituted
Celtic's Kris Commons remonstrates with manager Ronny Deila as he is substituted


Ronny Deila had a homecoming to forget as his Celtic side suffered another embarrassing European defeat that raises serious question marks about the Norwegian's future with the club.

Molde, lifted by the return of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as coach, played on Celtic's defensive frailties with a series of rapid counter-attacks and showed more appetite for the fight on a sodden artificial pitch.

The Scottish champions had started brightly but their defence was woefully exposed in the 11th minute when Dedryck Boyata conceded possession on the halfway line. A diagonal ball from the left by Mohamed Elyounoussi set Ola Kamara running clear and he easily beat Craig Gordon at his near post to give Molde the lead.

Stuart Armstrong fired over from 20 yards as Celtic tried to respond but Deila's side found themselves two down after 19 minutes when they failed to clear a corner properly. The cross came in from the right and Vegard Forren created space at the far post to hit the ball into the sodden turf before it bounced into Gordon's net.

Kris Commons tried hard to direct Celtic's efforts but they struggled to create a clear-cut chance before half time. Celtic were back in the game in the 55th minute when Commons was gifted the ball on the edge of the area by Martin Linnes and drew goalkeeper Ethan Horvath before deftly chipping him.

But the celebrations of the visitors' fans had barely died down when Celtic's defence cracked again, undone by a slick Molde move down the right which set up Elyounoussi at the far post to fire past Gordon and restore their two-goal lead.

Commons let his frustration show as he remonstrated with Deila after being substituted with 20 minutes to go.

Irish Independent

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