‘Small things’ beat Celtic

Leigh Griffiths

Leigh Griffiths missed a penalty as Celtic lost to Ross County

Celtic manager Ronny Deila asked the fans to recognise the positives of his team after they lost the League Cup semi-final to Ross County at Hampden.

Efe Ambrose was sent off and Leigh Griffiths missed a penalty as his side lost 3-1 to Jim McIntyre’s men.

“People will see that we were very good at the start of the game and we have been very good lately,” Deila told BBC Scotland.

“It was a day when small things went against us.”

The Scottish Premiership leaders face Aberdeen on Wednesday, when they will defend a six-point lead over the second-top side.

“We need to go on and we have three days to bounce back and win against Aberdeen,” said Deila.

Celtic were in control of the semi-final after only 30 seconds, when Gary Mackay-Steven prodded Leigh Griffith’s cut-back into the net.

But, 13 minutes later, the game was turned on its head when Efe Ambrose fouled Alex Schalk in the box and Martin Woods scored the resulting penalty as the Nigeria defender was sent off.

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Interview – Ronny Deila

Paul Quinn headed County ahead and Schalk made it three before the normally deadly Griffiths had a penalty saved after Brian Graham was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box.

“I think we started very well and the first 15 minutes was fantastic football,” said Deila.

“Then the red card comes and it changes the game, but we controlled the game after that until the break.”

The Norwegian boss thought referee Craig Thomson had got it wrong at County’s second goal, where goalkeeper Craig Gordon appeared to be fouled.

“It is a clear free kick on Craig Gordon,” he said. “It should never be a goal. They just pushed him out of the goal.”

Asked if it was a penalty when Ambrose challenged Schalk, Deila said: “He touched him, but I don’t think he would have reached the ball.

“I think Craig Gordon would have saved it. It was a very hard decision for the referee.”

Celtic now have to pick themselves up for the trip to nearest challengers Aberdeen.

“I am disappointed,” added Deila. “But we are in a good position in the league and still in the Scottish Cup, so we still have things to fight for.”

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