Celtic boss Ronny Deila praised his players’ response after they picked up an admirable point in their Europa League group stage opener against Ajax.
It has been a difficult start to the season for the Scottish champions after defeat to Malmo ended their association with the Champions League for another season and the loss to Aberdeen ensured they are five points behind the Dons in the Scottish Premiership.
Those results and rumours of dressing room unrest have led to questions about Deila’s future but he was delighted with the reaction he got from his players in the Amsterdam Arena.
“It was a good result especially away in Amsterdam and I’m very proud of the boys,” he said. “We’ve been through a tough period but we’ve still got many games left and this is a good start.”
Celtic opened the scoring after just eight minutes when Nir Bitton drilled a low shot beyond goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen.
Viktor Fischer finished off a lovely move to level the score before Mikael Lustig restored the Hoops’ lead.
Deila’s men looked in control but were reduced to 10 men after Emilio Izaguirre was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Substitute Lasse Schone netted an equaliser directly from a free kick as Celtic’s defensive frailties from set pieces were exposed.
Nevertheless Deila was pleased with his players’ application.
“They did very good work and had a good attitude. Emilio was unlucky to get the red card I think he played very well.
“In the end you could see Emilio was in trouble but in the first half there didn’t seem to be a problem.
“It was tough in the beginning [when were down to 10]. We had balls in between us and they get more crosses but when we got five behind we were more secure and we didn’t concede so many chances.
On the conceding of a set piece, he said: “I have to see it one more time it’s hard to say what’s happened but the positive thing was we scored from a set play so it’s 1-1.”