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Celtic boss Ronny Deila piles pressure on semi-final ref Craig Thomson

Ronny Deila confronts Steven McLean after the game a year ago (SNS Group)
Ronny Deila confronts Steven McLean after the game a year ago (SNS Group)

The Hoops renew acquaintance with the Championship title winners in the second of the Scottish Cup semi-finals a week today.

And with the Double to chase, the Norwegian is anxious to avoid a repeat of his experience this time last year when his club exited the competition to Inverness Caley Thistle in the most controversial of circumstances.

Then, Steven McLean missed Josh Meekings’ one-handed save of Leigh Griffiths net-bound shot – an offence which merited both a red card for the Caley Jags player and a penalty for Celtic.

It was damage later compounded when he sent off Hoops keeper Craig Gordon, with Inverness going on to win the tie and, subsequently, the Cup itself.

Angered by what they perceived to be an injustice on both counts, Celtic wrote to the SFA to complain about the standard of the refereeing.

“I felt terrible last year after the tie because I believed we deserved more from the game,” said Deila.

“I understand there are times when it can be a very difficult situation for the referee but I hope this semi-final is decided on the football.

“That is what we want.

“Now we are putting ourselves in a new situation and we have even more experience because it will be our fourth semi in two years.

“It is a big, big occasion. It is the semi-final of the Scottish Cup and we are determined to do some-thing different from last year.

“This is a good opportunity for us to bounce back from that loss.”

Referee Craig Thomson (SNS Group)
Referee Craig Thomson (SNS Group)

Likewise from this season’s reversal to Ross County at the same stage of the League Cup.

The Hoops also ended with 10 men against the Staggies, Efe Ambrose seeing red early on for a foul on County striker Alex Schalk.

If they’re to justify their favourite’s tag against their historic rivals, Deila says it is a trend they must bring to an end.

“We are going to have to be concentrated and in the moment,” he said.

“We know Rangers are a better team now. They have shown that in the league and are now ready to play in the top division.

“They have good confidence, winning a lot of games.

“So we are going to have to play well and we will have to be ready to compete – that is very important in these big games.

“While there will be aggression from our players, it has to be controlled aggression and in that respect the experience in our squad will be a help to us.

“I know the gang behind me are hungry to lift that trophy. We want to be in the history books.

“To get there, we have to beat Rangers – and we are going to do everything we can to do that.”


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