Aberdeen 'a great football club' says Celtic manager Ronny Deila

Celtic manager Ronny Deila
Celtic manager Ronny Deila called Aberdeen "a great football club"

Celtic manager Ronny Deila has hit out at "inaccurate media reports" suggesting he had criticised Aberdeen counterpart Derek McInnes for lacking belief during the title race.

The Norwegian said he had been misquoted in Saturday newspapers.

Celtic visit the Dons on Sunday, a week after clinching the Premiership.

"Aberdeen have had a brilliant season and deserve great credit for what they have done," Deila told the Celtic website.external-link

Aberdeen have been Celtic's closest challengers throughout the season, topping the table in January, however their league challenge faltered when they failed to win any of the previous three fixtures against the champions.

"Some of the newspaper stories today suggesting that I have criticised Aberdeen or Derek are not accurate and are very disappointing," said Deila.

"I have not done that at any time at all and my comments have totally been taken out of context.

"It is very important to know, as I have said many times before, that I have nothing but respect for Derek, his players and Aberdeen as a great football club."

The Dons host Celtic at Pittodrie, with Aberdeen set to give the visitors a guard of honour.

"This is a big, big game," said Deila. "We want to finish the season by winning our three league games.

"We want to show we are the best team in Scotland. Aberdeen haven't beaten us this season and we want to continue that.

"Aberdeen have done very, very well and they should be very proud. They were very close (to us) in the middle part of the season.

"But we have been very consistent since Christmas. We lost five points - one draw and one defeat - and they couldn't cope with that.

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has lost three games out of three against Celtic this season

"So although they have pushed us I think we deserved to win.

"The players are looking forward to the game. I want to see energy and hopefully we will win."

A last minute goal from Virgil Van Dijk gave Celtic a 2-1 victory at Pittodrie in November, a result that Deila credited with being a pivotal moment in their season.

"It's a good feeling that we have won the league," he said. "Everybody expected it. You don't get a lot of recognition when you win the league at Celtic.

"Everybody says you should win it by 30 points and every other team is bad, but it has to be done and we want to do it in a certain way as well.

"We have shown that we are about development and creating an attacking team and that we want to win trophies.

"So far we have done that and that makes me proud and also very, very hungry to keep on driving this team and this club forward."