Champions League exit 'harder last year' - Ronny Deila

By Alasdair LamontBBC Scotland at Celtic Park
Ronny Deila celebrates Celtic's 3-1 win over St Johnstone
Ronny Deila says Celtic's Champions League failure was harder last season

Celtic manager Ronny Deila admitted to having had some "tough days" this week, in the wake of the club's failure to reach the Champions League group stage.

But he says it was not as difficult a time as the same point last season, when they also fell at the final fence, slipping into the Europa League.

"I think it was harder last year," he told BBC Scotland after the 3-1 win over St Johnstone.

"Because I didn't have control of anything (last season)."

The Norwegian continued: "It was tough days (this week) of course. It was tough for everybody, but everyone knows you just have to move on and there's a lot ahead - interesting games and a lot to fight for."

Given the circumstances and the early own goal that had Celtic trailing after 11 minutes, was there a sense of relief at having taken all three points?

"You have to stop talking about relief," he replied. "This is about being happy, seeing everything as an opportunity.

"So I'm happy today, very happy, not relieved.

"It was a tough start for us but we showed character and discipline and confidence to turn it around."

Deila believes captain Scott Brown will be fit to feature in Scotland's European Championship qualifying fixtures against Georgia and Germany next month after he was substituted following a heavy challenge at Celtic Park.

Scott Brown grimaces following a heavy tackle
Scott Brown was replaced following a heavy tackle

"He will be fit," said the manager. "I talked with him and he seems ok. It was a tough hit he got but he will be ready for the games, I think."

Saints boss Tommy Wright, meanwhile, is confident that the head knock sustained by midfielder Murray Davidson in an aerial challenge with Celtic's Emilio Izaguirre, for which he was replaced at the interval, is not too serious.

"He was a bit confused. I felt he was going to be sick so there was no way I was going to risk him," said Wright.

"I imagine he doesn't have to go to hospital or he would have been taken away. It doesn't seem to be serious."