Celtic boss Ronny Deila - Pitches holding players back

Celtic manager Ronny Deila was critical of the playing surface at St Mirren
Celtic manager Ronny Deila was critical of the playing surface at St Mirren

Player development is being hindered by the terrible state of pitches in Scotland, according to Celtic manager Ronny Deila.

Following Friday's 2-0 win for Celtic, St Mirren took umbrage at comments made by Deila about the quality of the playing surface in Paisley.

"It is one of the best in the league but that says something about the pitches in the league," said Deila.

"It's so tough to develop pattern, technique and speed, like we need to."

Buddies manager Gary Teale responded to Friday's remarks by pointing out that the grass park at St Mirren Park has won awards.

However, Deila thinks more clubs should follow the lead of Kilmarnock and Hamilton and install artificial surfaces if they are struggling to maintain standards.

"Go to England or go to Europe, it's like playing [on an] artificial [surface] - the ball is not bouncing around all the time," he added.

"This is the Premiership we are talking about, it's important. We get evaluated after every game about performance and entertainment - these are high demands.

"And if that is a very good pitch then the demands on us can't be so high.

"If you want high performances then you need good pitches.

"Is it about money? I'm not a groundsman, I don't say they do a bad job. It's hard for pitches to recover in the winter when there is no sun.

"It's a challenge we have in Scotland."

Celtic are seven points clear as they close in on a fourth consecutive league title
Celtic are seven points clear as they close in on a fourth consecutive league title

On the subject of artificial surfaces, Deila stressed that such pitches need to wet.

"If they are dry, it's the worst to play on," said the Norwegian. "Every pitch needs to be watered so get the tempo we want."

Premiership leaders Celtic are seven points in front of Aberdeen, with a game in hand, but Deila would not be drawn into saying the title race is over despite Dons boss Derek McInnes suggesting otherwise at the weekend.

"Nobody can take the points we have away but we need to win more games to win the league," he added.

"I never take anything for granted in football. We need more points and Aberdeen are a good team.

"If they have given up, it's going to be easier but I don't think that's right.

"If we suddenly start playing very badly, I'd be very surprised and disappointed.

"We are in a very good position and we have to enjoy that."

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