Tuesday 20 August 2019

Molde defeat heaps pressure on Deila

Celtic 1 Molde 2

Celtic manager Ronny Deila
Celtic manager Ronny Deila

Ronnie Esplin

Celtic's Europa League hopes suffered another blow following a home defeat by Molde - and the spotlight will surely turn back on boss Ronny Deila.

The offside flag deprived the Hoops of two goals in the first 12 minutes following the loss of Jozo Simunovic to injury before Mohamed Elyounoussi stunned Parkhead with a 20-yard drive.

Midfielder Kris Commons levelled five minutes later but Molde's 40-year-old skipper Daniel Hestad restored the Norwegian club's lead in the 37th minute to give them the interval advantage.

The hapless home side's misery was compounded in the 77th minute when Nir Bitton, who had moved from midfield to defence in a reshuffle, was shown a straight red card by referee Slavko Vincic for a 'last man' tackle on Molde substitute Ola Kamara.

Defeat kept Deila's side bottom of Group A with two points from four games and with a home game against Ajax and a trip to Fenerbahce remaining, the Scottish champions require two wins to progress, an unlikely scenario on the evidence so far, although Deila remains confident of progress.

"We have done very well domestically. In Europe we haven't reached that level that we want but we are going to improve," said Deila.

"I am not thinking about my position. I am going to work hard to turn this around and be ready for next year - and the last two Europa League games."

Ajax moved on to three points and Fenerbahce on to five following their goalless draw in Amsterdam.

Celtic drew 2-2 with both clubs earlier in the campaign which gives Deila hope to declare that the chances of qualifying were, "realistic, of course. We have a draw against both teams before.

"Molde showed they are the best team in the group.

"We can beat Ajax here and we can beat Fenerbahce down there. We are going to fight to the end for those six points.

"It was individual mistakes again. We need to have much more character and pride.

"We have to win challenges and we lost that game inside the two boxes and that is disappointing.

"Kieran Tierney played with his heart, he had an unbelievable performance and that is a positive thing on a dark day."

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