Glasgow (AFP) – Celtic manager Ronny Deila says his side’s Scottish Premiership title is every bit as special as the rest after his side clinched their 47th top flight championship with a 3-2 win over nearest challengers Aberdeen.
A double from Patrick Roberts and a Mikael Lustig strike seemingly put Celtic in an insurmountable position before goals from Jonny Hayes and Andrew Considine made for a nervy finish.
The win moves Celtic 12 points clear of the Dons with two games remaining and seals a fifth consecutive league title for only the third time in the club’s history.
However, Celtic have come in for criticism this season with cup semi-final defeats to rivals Rangers and Ross County, allied to poor European form, resulting in Deila announcing his decision to leave the club in the summer.
However, the out-going boss says his side’s title win deserves to be valued as highly as previous victories.
“Of course it should be. It is a title. You have to fight against the teams in the league and you can’t say this is not more worthy than the others,” the Norwegian manager said.
“It is very disrespectful thing to say about the other teams as well.
“Our results have been consistent but the last two months we have not had the same drive and energy in the team. There have been some bad results which make the season a bit grey, rather than white
“We are the best and the biggest club and everything we achieve here is normal, other than if you go to through the Champions League and into the next round after the group games.
“So it is high demands and sometimes it is important to enjoy it. The fans showed that today and in the end they were happy to get the championship.
“You see in other leagues that small teams win but now we have five in a row and should be very proud of it and hopefully it will be a lot more next season.”
Aberdeen have provided the main challenge in the league in recent seasons in the absence of their Glasgow rivals Rangers.
Dons boss Derek McInnes felt his side’s performance in the match at Celtic Park mirrored his side’s title challenge.
“The players deserve a lot of credit for not folding and giving up and coming back fighting strong,” McInnes said.
“I think it has parallels to our league campaign. We had to work for it in the end, we let them know we were there and weren’t going anywhere but ultimately we just fell a bit short.
“Today is about Celtic. For all the criticism that has come the manager’s way and the players’ way it hasn’t been through their league form.
“Their points tally will be up there with any championship winning team. Ultimately we beat them twice and we probably needed someone else to lay a glove on them as well to get closer to them, but they deserve credit today.”
With Rangers’ return to the Scottish top flight next season, McInnes acknowledges he will face an increased challenge to repeat the feats of previous years.
However, the Aberdeen boss believes his players can continue to improve.
“My team deserve a lot of credit because we are the one team over the last couple of seasons who have taken the responsibility to challenge Celtic and give them something of a league title race when really we shouldn’t be anywhere near it in terms of funds,” McInnes said.
“Hopefully next season if we can get in a similar position we can learn from this and put ourselves in a better position to challenge right to the end.”
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