Manager Ronny Deila says Celtic must make chances count in Scotland
GLASGOW // Celtic manager Ronny Deila took a swipe at his ineffectual forwards after the Hoops’ winning streak came to an end following a 2-1 defeat to Dundee United on Sunday.
Despite his side chalking up eight successive victories in the Scottish Premiership prior to Sunday’s defeat, Deila has repeatedly called on his strikers to be more clinical in front of goal.
And after the reigning champions managed 17 shots, seven of them on target, compared to just six for their hosts in the defeat at Tannadice, the Norwegian again highlighted his side’s wastefulness.
“We are not taking our chances. That’s our main issue just now,” the Celtic manager said.
“We lost the game because we weren’t effective enough. It’s a challenge we’ve faced in the last three or four games where we’ve created a lot of chances but don’t take them.
“We gave two easy goals away. We let them go inside and into the box instead of pushing them wide.
“We can talk about creating chances but we have to be more effective. In the last three or four matches we have created 10 to 15 chances in each but in the end if you don’t score then you lose matches and that’s what happened today.
“I’m not disappointed in the way we played. I think we played quite well especially in the first half.
“We pressed them and were all over them and created chances but we gave away a stupid goal. All that was missing was putting the ball in the net and that’s the most important thing in football.”
Stefan Scepovic looked to have pulled one back for Celtic in the 81st minute after Nadir Ciftci and Stuart Armstrong had given United a commanding advantage. However, the Serbian’s effort was ruled out for offside despite Blair Spittal appearing to play him on.
The decision disappointed Deila, whose side did pull one back through substitute Leigh Griffiths late on, and he felt his side had enough chances to get something from the game.
“Of course we’re disappointed that we didn’t get the goal, which would have given us a good chance to get some points in the end,” he added.
“But we had a lot of other chances as well to put the ball in the net and if we kept missing them we will lose points.”
The win moves United up to second in the Premiership table, just four points behind Celtic at the summit.
With just two wins in their previous 60 meetings with the Glasgow giants the odds were stacked against United before kick-off but victory gains them some revenge for their 6-1 thrashing at Celtic Park back in August.
Despite closing in on Celtic at the top, United boss Jackie McNamara believes any talk of becoming title challengers is premature.
“I don’t think you can say that now. You’ve got to perform like that with a bit of luck week in, week out,” said McNamara, whose team go to St Johnstone next weekend and then host neighbours Dundee on New Year’s Day.
“It’s a big ask. Aberdeen will say the same. We can only do our best and see where we are at the end of the season.
“You look at the gulf even with the substitutions that Celtic made with Leigh Griffiths coming on and Kris Commons, who had 31 goals last year, on the bench.
“They also brought on a £3m ($4.7m) striker Stefan Scepovic and it’s hard to compete with that.”
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Published: December 22, 2014 04:00 AM