Deila lauds Roberts after Celtic goals

Celtic's Patrick Roberts celebrates

Patrick Roberts scored his first Celtic goals since arriving from Manchester City

Celtic manager Ronny Deila showered Patrick Roberts with praise after the 19-year-old winger scored twice in the 3-1 win over Hearts.

They were the first Celtic goals for Roberts, who is on an 18-month loan from Manchester City.

“He has the ball six or seven times and scored two goals, so if we can feed him 20 times, it will be very hard for the opponents,” Deila told BBC Scotland.

“He is special and that’s why he’s at Manchester City.”

The win extended Celtic’s lead over Aberdeen, who play Hamilton Academical on Sunday, at the top of the Scottish Premiership to seven points.

“Everything is in our own hands – seven games left and we are really going to fight to the end,” said Deila, who found himself under pressure after the Dons recently reduced the gap to one point.

“There are things we want to get better, but we have to give credit to Hearts as well.

“They were really up for the game, they were prepared and they started very well and got an early goal.

“But I think it shows team spirit when you change things around and win 3-1 in the end.”

Hearts took the lead through Jamie Walker and Gary Mackay-Steven levelled before Roberts’ double secured the three points.


Hearts went ahead through Jamie Walker (right) at Celtic Park

“I think we started slow and we had to get up to the tempo Hearts were putting into it, but we got better and better during the game and, in the second half, we controlled it quite well,” said Deila.

“The winning is everything in this game and, when you’re winning, you get more and more confidence and you build up momentum, so that’s what we want to keep on doing.”

Third-top Hearts failed to reduce the nine-point gap between themselves and Aberdeen, but head coach Robbie Neilson stressed the positives.

“I thought the performance was very good,” he said. “I thought the first half, we dominated the game and should have went in ahead.

“We didn’t and, in the second half, although we were under a bit of pressure, we played some very good football.

“We had some good opportunities but gave up a poor third goal.”

Like Celtic, Hearts had made five changes to their starting line-up, with Neilson having changed his system to play three at the back.

“They are a confident bunch and it is a formation that’s new to them, but I thought they did well,” he added.

“At 1-1, Juanma misses a chance from a couple of yards out, but I thought he was one of our key players and that happens.

“They are a very young squad, but to come here and perform as well as that is admirable.”

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