Ronny Deila called for calm heads after Celtic’s lead over Aberdeen at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership was cut to three points with a 2-1 defeat at Pittodrie.
The visitors had looked in control of the match until the 31st minute when Dons wide-man Jonny Hayes, playing with a bandage on his hand after being bit by a dog, scored with a thunderous drive from 25 yards before debutant Simon Church added a second, leaving Leigh Griffiths’ stoppage-time strike a mere consolation
Celtic have a massive goal difference advantage over the Dons but the pressure increases on Deila, who saw hopes of a domestic treble ended with a League Cup semi-final defeat to Ross County at Hampden Park on Sunday.
Asked if it was a time for calm, including among the Celtic directors, the Norwegian boss said: “Of course, that’s what you need to do. If you lose your head you lose everything. It is very important to be calm.
“Everyone loses football matches but still we are in charge and I know the players and I know what I want and we will fight to the end to get the title back to Celtic Park and I really believe we can do it.
“We have a lot of quality in the team, we are going to be stronger.
“I am confident I can do this. All managers have problems at the start of their careers at different clubs. Look at Alex Ferguson and others.
“You get through periods and you get stronger.
“We are going to get through this together, we are going to win this league, fight for the Scottish Cup and get stronger.”
When asked if back-to-back defeats constituted a crisis by Celtic standards, Deila said: “I accept that is a bad situation but the situation is also that we are top of the league by three points.
“Sometimes you fell like it is relegation almost.
“We just have to keep calm, (keep) working and keep doing what we are doing and in the end we will get the results.”
Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes thought his side were deserving winners.
He said: “I thought Celtic started better, they showed good composure. It was a crackling atmosphere, frantic, too frantic for me in terms of their possession.
“For all that we seemed to work our way through the game and as soon as Jonny brought that bit of quality and scored the goal it put a whole different slant on the evening.
“From there on in we just got better and stronger and got the second goal quickly after it. It was quite comfortable after that.
“Although you’re never totally comfortable because of the quality and the level of player Celtic have I did feel that the game was without real incident for the majority of the second half and that pleased me.”
Asked if he believed the Dons could win the title, McInnes put the pressure back on Celtic.
He said: “We set out to get a better points tally than we managed last year and I’ve said all along that even if we bettered that tally we’d still need Celtic to come back towards us.
“Celtic should win this league hands down, there is no doubt about that, with the vast difference in resources between them and everyone in the league.
“But it pleases me that we can at least put up some sort of fight. It’s not just us, a few other teams are capable of beating them as well. But let’s not kid ourselves – no-one in here would bet against Celtic winning the league.
“But we’ll keep trying to do our bit and see where it takes us. They are still favourites. They are three points ahead of us with a far better goal difference which is as good as another point.
“They have a level of player that is capable of winning things. The current Celtic team has a lot of talent and a lot of good players. But I also believe my team has got that too.
“They might have 50-odd players but they can only play 11 at any given time. My 11 were ready for them tonight and hopefully my 11 are ready for St Johnstone on Saturday.”