Ronny Deila says ‘I’m looking forward to more years here’ after Celtic secure League Cup semi-final spot
EDINBURGH // Ronny Deila said he was looking forward to a long stay at Celtic after his side cruised into the fifth round of the Scottish Cup following an emphatic 4-0 win over 10-man Hearts.
The Hoops looked to have turned the corner following a stuttering start to the campaign under their new Norwegian manager which saw the Scottish Champions stumble out of the Champions League in qualifying and drop points to Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Dundee and Hamilton in the league.
However, the Glasgow giants have now won seven domestic matches in a row to move top of the Premiership for the first time while securing a place in the semi-finals of the League Cup.
Despite a defeat to Salzburg in midweek, Celtic also booked their spot in the final 32 of the Europa League and Deila, who celebrates six months in the job next week, is happy with the progress his side have been making.
“I think it has been a fantastic journey so far. I’m looking forward to more months and hopefully years here,” a delighted Deila said after his side’s win at Tynecastle on Sunday.
“We are improving more and more all the time and I’m settling in well and enjoying the job.
“We are through in every competition we want to be in, except the Champions League, but I hope we can get a new chance at it next year.”
At Tynecastle, Hearts captain Morgaro Gomis was handed a straight red for an early reckless challenge before Virgil van Dijk fired Celtic into a 29th minute lead.
The contest remained tight until referee Willie Collum awarded a controversial 52nd minute penalty when John Guidetti went down under pressure from Brad McKay in the box, although there appeared to be no contact between the pair.
The Swedish striker took the kick himself and buried it past Neil Alexander before Anthony Stokes and Van Dijk completed the scoring.
Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson, whose side are the runaway leaders in the Scottish Championship this season, was furious at the penalty decision.
“My players have worked hard all season and I don’t want one person’s performance to overshadow the hard work we have done here,” Neilson said of referee Willie Collum.
“I think there is only one person who thinks it was a penalty and it totally changed the game for us.
“I’d like to think the referee has got a wee bit about him and he gives me a phone and explains it to me. I’m sure he’ll watch it and I’m sure he will realise what the decision should have been.
“It was very difficult after that. At 1-0 you are always in the game, even down to 10 men, but as soon as the second goal goes in Celtic could start popping the ball about.
“It had a huge bearing on the game but it’s done now and we must move on.
“It’s disappointing but the main aim for us has always been the league and this will be huge motivation for my players.”
The Hoops will be joined in Monday’s draw for the fifth round by Old Firm rivals Rangers, who easily saw off Premiership side Kilmarnock 3-0 at Ibrox thanks to a Kris Boyd strike and a Nicky Law double.
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Published: December 1, 2014 04:00 AM