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‘I HOPE BRENDAN CAN WIPE AWAY MY SEMI-FINAL NIGHTMARES,’ DEILA

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RONNY DEILA hopes Brendan Rodgers is not cursed with the Scottish Cup semi-final jinx that helped bring an end to the Norwegian’s two-year reign as Celtic boss.
The ex-Hoops gaffer was in charge when the first one was played against Inverness Caley Thistle and it looked as though the Parkhead men were heading for only their fourth treble in history.
Deila’s hopes ended in controversy when the champions were denied a stonewall penalty-kick and the Highlanders won 3-2 in extra-time.
The second semi came against Sevco Rangers last season and the penalty-kick shoot-out exit brought down the curtain on his managerial stint in the east end of Glasgow.
Neil Lennon’s successor won two Premiership titles and a League Cup at Celtic, but his failure in the Scottish Cup cost him dearly.
Deila, now in charge of hometown club Valerenga, admitted the two Hampden horror shows were major low points in his Parkhead career and he’s hoping Rodgers and his team can wipe them away this weekend.
In the Caley Thistle debacle, the Hoops were 1-0 in front and would have gone 2-0 up, had Leigh Griffiths’s netbound header not been stopped on the line by the hands of Josh Meekings.
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Amazingly, referee Stevie McLean and his back-up squad failed to spot the offence and the sense of injustice for Deila was fuelled in the second period when his team had Craig Gordon red-carded and folded to a 3-2 loss.

Deila said: “That Inverness semi-final game is still something I think about.

“The fact we did not get that treble in my first season is killing me, still.

“That referee’s decision in the semi-final, when the ball is punched off the line and then we get a red card and lose, it still hurts me now.

“That’s my only real regret. Would I still be there if we’d won that treble? Yes, I think so.

“That irritates me the most, losing that treble.

“We were very close, but I suppose that’s football. It was not our day.”

A year later, Leigh Griffiths hit the inside of the post and the underside of the bar and Patrick Roberts missed an open goal as the Hoops toiled to a 2-2 draw against Mark Warburton’s side after extra-time.

Scott Brown had his weak spot-kick saved by Wes Foderingham, Callum McGregor clattered his effort off the crossbar and Tom Rogic missed the target altogether as the Ibrox side got through in the shoot-out.
Deila dded: “It’s strange because losing that game to Rangers (sic) was in some ways not too bad for me.

“I don’t mean I didn’t mind losing to them. I know it hurt everyone at the club and it hurt me, too.

“What I mean is we played so badly we didn’t deserve to win it.

“I didn’t recognise the team as being my team that day. There was no speed, no energy.

“That responsibility was mine. Right there at that point I realised my team was out there, but they were not having fun any more.

“I understood the pressure was too big to carry the team on.

”I know people felt I didn’t get the results in Europe I should have done and I didn’t develop the team in the second year. I don’t disagree. I accept that.

“To me, being respected as a man is more important than anything, more important than being respected as a coach or a manager.

“Football should be fun and if I’m not having fun I’ll do something else.

“In the end, it stopped being fun because I didn’t feel I was having enough of an impact on the team. That Rangers (sic) semi-final confirmed it.”

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