Celtic courage lifts Ronny Deila for Europa League knockout test

Leigh Griffiths missed a great chance to level the match at 2-2
Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths missed a great chance to level the match at 2-2

Manager Ronny Deila says Celtic can look forward to the knockout phase of the Europa League despite losing 3-1 at home to Salzburg.

With the Austrians winning Group D, Celtic progress as runners-up after Dinamo Zagreb's loss at Astra.

In the last-32 Celtic will meet a group winner or one of four third-placed teams from the Champions League.

"I don't think the third placed in the Champions League are any better than Salzburg," said Deila.

"This is the standard.

"We met a modern football team in my opinion, they are unbelievably hard-working, very direct and if we can handle this we can handle the Champions League third teams as well.

"The best team has gone through, they have showed themselves to be a very good team and we have been the second best team.

"I think they have a lot of things that we want to be. I think in the second half we showed a lot of what we can do as well.

"They showed courage to get back in the game and I'm proud we really attacked them but we could not get the equaliser."

Brazilian forward Alan hit two goals in five minutes to give the Austrians an early lead, though Stefan Johansen halved the deficit.

Celtic manager Ronny Deila
"I didn't feel well after 15 minutes and being two down, but we fought ourselves into the match again and the players did everything they can."

Celtic rallied and put pressure on the visiting goal only for to Naby Keita knock in a late third for the visitors.

"We're very happy to get through," added Deila. "But we wanted to do that by ourselves and win today.

"I think Salzburg were a very good football team. Every time they attacked I was feeling threatened and they were very direct as we knew they were going to be.

"We opened the game very poor. Conceded two easy goals, one set play shouldn't happen and we put ourselves in a bad situation.

"I didn't feel well after 15 minutes and being two down, but we fought ourselves into the match again and the players did everything they can.

"In the end we should maybe have had a goal in the second half. We have to fight further to get through to the last 16 and the quarter finals.

"It is three months until those games so we can prepare very well. I am really looking forward to it."

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