Champions League: Celtic boss Ronny Deila satisfied after draw

Goalkeeper Craig Gordon applauds the Celtic fans in Slovenia
Celtic are aiming to reach the Champions League group stage for the third year running

Manager Ronny Deila has "a good feeling" about Celtic reaching the Champions League group stage after a 1-1 draw with Maribor in Slovenia.

Callum McGregor's early strike gave Celtic the edge going into the play-off second leg in Glasgow on Tuesday.

They were much improved from their displays in losing to Legia Warsaw, who were eliminated after being punished for fielding an ineligible player.

"We were well prepared and the players were fantastic," said Deila.

"We looked like a team, worked hard together and created chances. It's a good result but we could have won it."

Legia beat Celtic 6-1 on aggregate in the previous round, but their 2-0 away win became a 3-0 'walkover' Celtic victory after they fielded Bartosz Bereszynski in the second leg while he was suspended.

That took Celtic through on away goals, and they took just six minutes to make the most of their reprieve, McGregor netting after Jo Inge Berget's shot was saved.

Damjan Bohar levelled an open game soon after, with both sides having further chances.

The visitors had the best of those, with a Charlie Mulgrew header cleared off the line and Stefan Johansen inadvertently blocking a goalbound header from team-mate Virgil van Dijk, while the Norwegian midfielder also squandered a one-on-one opportunity.

"I think we have to be the more satisfied team," said Deila, who dropped last season's top scorer Kris Commons to the bench.

"The away goal is vital, 1-1 is a much better result than 0-0."

Deila said his side had "learned a lesson" in Legia and that his players "know what is expected".

Stefan Johansen blocked a net-bound header from Virgil van Dijk
Stefan Johansen blocked a goalbound header from Virgil van Dijk

He added: "Maribor are a very good team who are good on the counter attack, but we were well organised and disciplined.

"They will be more dangerous away than at home but we have the advantage of Celtic Park. We have to play with good balance and attack them in the right way."

Johansen was full of energetic running and playing a fine lofted pass to Berget in the build-up to Celtic's goal.

But Deila joked his countryman was "the best defender for Maribor" after blocking Van Dijk's header.

"It was a fantastic save," he said.

"I think he was very good, he was working hard, he is a leader on the pitch and he is progressing all the time."

McGregor's goal was his fourth of the season, and Deila was thrilled by the 21-year-old's contribution.

"He's an unbelievably good player," he said. "Not only good in offence but good in defence as well.

"He worked hard for the team and he is very good on the ball. We can be proud he is a product of the Celtic youth department."

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