sport

Deila sees Celtic progress

Ronny Deila was pleased with parts of Celtic's display as they opened the Scottish Premiership season with a 3-0 win at St Johnstone.

Deila has endured a forgettable start to life in Scotland, seeing his side knocked out of the Champions League last week, only to be reinstated after a 6-1 aggregate defeat by Legia Warsaw.

While they await the result of Legia's appeal on Thursday, the defending champions scored three second-half goals at McDiarmid Park through Anthony Stokes, Nir Biton and Callum McGregor, but they still had to battle through long periods of struggle.

"The first 20 minutes was okay and the last 25 of the first half was not the way I want to see my team play," Deila said.

"But in the second-half we upped the pressure and intensity and it opened up and we got the chances and won the game.

"The second-half is more like I want to see my team but we need to work on the fitness and pattern, but that will come

"I am not unbelievably happy because I didn't think we performed fantastic but we are on our way. It was not perfect but the second-half was a step in the right direction."

But angry St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright felt his side was on the wrong end of most of the key decisions in the game.

Dave Mackay was denied a penalty by referee John Beaton with Celtic 1-0 in front - he appeared to be brought down by Virgil van Dijk - and he was then dismissed for a soft foul on Derk Boerrigter which handed the champions their second goal from the penalty spot.

Wright said: "One was a penalty and one wasn't. Simple.

"It's not my view that counts, it is the referee's that counts. There is enough grounds for appeal and I have spoken to John.

"Van Dijk leaves his leg out. There was contact. It is the wrong decision.

"If there was contact (with Boerrigter) it was minimal and it didn't make him go down because he didn't go down in the contact, that is clear for everyone to see.

"And he actually collapses his right leg which is the leg furthest away from Dave Mackay, if he did make contact. I have to concentrate on performance and that was excellent."