Title race talk too early

Celtic manager Ronny Deila congratulates striker Leigh Griffiths

Celtic manager Ronny Deila congratulates striker Leigh Griffiths

Celtic manager Ronny Deila says “we can start talking about a title race in April”.

The champions’ 2-0 win over Ross County put them three points clear of Aberdeen, who travel to Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Monday.

“You know, you talk about Aberdeen all the time,” said Deila after further questions about their nearest rivals.

“Here in Celtic we don’t think about the others; it’s about winning games. Whatever they do, we have to win.”

Leigh Griffiths notched his 30th goal of the season to put the hosts on course for victory after a frustrating opening 40 minutes and Dedryck Boyata headed in a second midway through the second half.

But overall there were still unconvincing elements to the Celtic display on a surface showing some deterioration.

“I don’t think you get the points if you don’t put in the performance,” said Deila.

“On the ball today we could be better but having said that, it’s not easy on that pitch to play fantastic football.

“You can’t do anything [about it] because here it’s been raining for three months. You’d almost need a new pitch every week.

“We have the best groundsman and they do a good job but you have to be a miracle man to work with this [type of weather]. We need some sun and we need some warmth.

“I think we were a little bit sloppy at the start in the defence; we didn’t get close enough and win the ball in good situations enough.

“But at the end of the first half I thought we got going. It’s very important to get a victory and get confidence and kick on from that.”

Deila played down any issue midfielder Stefan Johansen has with winning over the Celtic fans in what has largely been a torpid season for the Norway international.

He contributed well with some incisive through balls against County but still received criticism from fans when wayward with his shooting.

“For me he was one of the best on the pitch today,” added Deila.

“He created a lot and he worked really, really hard. He’s had a tough start to the season but in the last month he’s played very well.

“He’s a top quality player and he’s giving our club things on and off the pitch. I love to have him here at Celtic.”

Fraser dislocated his shoulder during the match at Celtic Park

Ross County manager Jim McIntyre confirmed right-back Marcus Fraser could be a doubt for the League Cup final on 13 March if the dislocated shoulder he suffered when challenging Stuart Armstrong turns out to be a complicated one.

“He’s in a lot of pain,” said McIntyre.

“He’s on his way to hospital because we couldn’t manage to get it back in. We’ll know more in the coming days.

“A lot if the time if you can pop them straight back in it might be a week or two, but sometimes they can be a six-week job.”

The Staggies’ boss was disappointed not to cause the same sort of upset they did in the League Cup semi-final against Celtic.

“We didn’t carry the same threat we’ve carried in past games against Celtic in terms of creating,” he said. “But in terms of their work rate and organisation they were very good.

“When you come to places like this there are key times of the game that you try and get to, and a minute before half-time is the worst possible time to lose a goal.”

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