Manager Ronny Deila is to leave Celtic at the end of the season.
The Norwegian’s position had come under increased scrutiny following Sunday’s Scottish Cup exit to Old Firm rivals Rangers, and the 40-year-old has decided now is the right time to leave the club.
“It is vital that the club comes first, instead of me being the focus,” the Norwegian said. “Hopefully now the team and the club can be the focus as we enter this final important period of the season.”
Celtic won the Scottish Premier League title last season and currently hold an eight-point lead over Aberdeen with five games to go. But the defeat to Rangers, who have just confirmed their promotion to the top flight after a four-year climb from the foot of the Scottish pyramid, led to calls from some fans for Deila to be fired.
Deila, who was on a one-year rolling contract, admitted he had encountered some “disappointments” during his tenure, but said he had always given his all.
“There have been some disappointments and times when we have not achieved what we had hoped for and I’m realistic and honest enough to admit that, but I know that the players, myself and my backroom team have always given everything we had to bring success to our supporters.”
He continued: “It was an absolute privilege to be named manager of Celtic, such a wonderful football club, and I have enjoyed my time here immensely.
“I will never forget the welcome I received almost two years ago at Celtic Park from so many fans. When I joined Celtic I knew I was coming to one of the world’s great football clubs.”
Deila led the club to a league and cup double last term and is on course to deliver the club’s fifth straight Scottish Premiership title.
“My total focus now is on retaining our Premiership title and making it five in a row for our great club and proving that we are the best in the country,” he said.
“Myself and the players will be giving everything we can to achieve this and I know that starting on Sunday we must all unite and drive the club on and really go for what we all want as Celtic supporters – to be Scottish champions once again.”