Momentum with Celtic, says Ronny Deila

Manager Ronny Deila wants Celtic to build on their winning momentum after watching his side move clear from the chasing pack for the first time this season.

AFP| Updated: Dec 04, 2014, 18:49 PM IST
Momentum with Celtic, says Ronny Deila

Glasgow: Manager Ronny Deila wants Celtic to build on their winning momentum after watching his side move clear from the chasing pack for the first time this season.

The Hoops opened a three point gap over Inverness Caledonian Thistle after their 1-0 win over Partick Thistle at Celtic Park on Wednesday night.

After a slow start to their campaign Deila`s side have now won six consecutive league matches and the Hoops boss wants that run to continue as he aims to led the Glasgow giants to the title in his first season in charge.

"That is the goal - we want to keep on winning now," the Norwegian manager said.

"We`ve played better but I`m happy with the three points. I think we were dominant for almost the full game and we deserved to win.

"I try to be positive and we`ve also played a lot of matches now with just three days between them and that of course is effecting the energy in the team.

"But they fought for the victory and got the three points and I`m happy with that. We are on a good run and we have momentum and confidence.

"We want to continue on Saturday against Motherwell and get the three points."

Virgil van Dijk was the hero for Celtic once again as he scored the only goal in the narrow win over Thistle.

The Dutch defender, who grabbed a double in his side`s Scottish Cup win over Hearts on Sunday, pounced at the second attempt to fire Celtic in front in the 60th minute.

His manager reiterated his desire to hold on to the centre-half when the transfer window opens in January.

"We want to keep him, we are building a team around him," Deila said. "He is a very good player. He performs week-in, week-out now. He has consistency and is a leader in the group.

"I think he is developing all the time and when he scores goals it makes me more happy.

"He creates chances as well going forward and he was active for 90 minutes."

It was Van Dijk`s sixth goal of an impressive season and the Dutchman was satisfied with his night`s work.

"I`m very happy especially with my goal, which was my first at Celtic Park after a lot of games here," the defender said.

"I think we played very well. We played the ball well and created chances. We should have scored a lot more than we did but we won and that`s the most important thing right now.

"We need to keep going and stay on the top of the table."

It was a night of contrasting fortunes for Celtic`s Old Firm rivals Rangers, who were knocked out of the Petrofac Training Cup by part-timers Alloa.

The Gers had raced into a 2-0 lead through Kenny Miller and Dean Shiels at Recreation Park as they looked on course to book a place in the final of the competition, which is only open to clubs in the lower leagues of Scottish football.

However, their Championship rivals levelled matters with goals from Greig Spence and Ryan McCord.

Spence then grabbed a last minute winner to stun the away support and seal his side`s first-ever victory over Rangers.

The defeat heaps pressure on manager Ally McCoist, whose side trail Hearts by nine points in the battle for the one automatic promotion spot back to the Premiership.