St Mirren 0-2 Celtic: Ronny Deila backs St Mirren to pick up points

Ronny Deila (right) warned fans to expect more tough games from clubs battling relegation
Ronny Deila (right) warned fans to expect more tough games from clubs battling relegation

Celtic manager Ronny Deila has backed St Mirren to push the other sides at the bottom of the Scottish Premiership all the way.

A James Forrest strike and Stefan Johansen's penalty in a 2-0 win ensured the Buddies remain four points adrift at the foot of the table.

"They couldn't fight more than they did today," an impressed Deila told BBC Scotland.

"They have accepted they are a bottom team and play like a bottom team; like defending and set plays and counter attacks.

"If they play like this, they will get points, but it's hard to do that every week, but now every game is a cup final so they can get some points in the end."

Celtic moved eight points clear of second-top Aberdeen but found the going tough for large spells on a hard surface at St Mirren Park.

And Deila warned the Celtic fans to expect more games like the one in Paisley during the league run-in.

"Everything will not always go the way we want," he said.

"We have to fight hard for the points, especially when you meet the teams that have something to play for like St Mirren. The bottom team is so hard to beat at the end of the season.

"I'm delighted that we got the three points and are still putting pressure on Aberdeen. They have to win tomorrow and that's a good feeling."

Viktor Genev handled the ball, leading to Celtic being awarded a penalty
Viktor Genev handled the ball, leading to Celtic being awarded a penalty

St Mirren manager Gary Teale felt the penalty decision was harsh, with Viktor Genev punished for a hand ball in the box.

The home side were denied a spot kick of their own when Stephen Mallan went down under a first half challenge from Stuart Armstrong.

"The boys were excellent, every single one of them," said Teale. "They showed heart and desire - that's what I asked for and I felt as if I got it.

"I'm just disappointed with the goals. A slip of concentration allowed Celtic to slip in behind us and for the penalty - I don't think it's a penalty.

"It's a sore one to take because I felt we could have got back into the game at 1-0.

"We were containing Celtic, frustrating them for long periods. I thought we had decent chances in the first half without being clear cut.

"We were sticking to the game plan, being hard to beat.

"We're going into Motherwell then Ross County, we need to make sure we're there or thereabouts.

"We can't be detached after these next two games to give ourselves a fighting chance going in after the split."

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