Celtic: Is There Really Trouble At Paradise?

Celtic Paradise

Celtic’s poor start to the 2015/16 season continued after they slumped to a 2-1 defeat to Aberdeen this past weekend. That loss meant that the Dons leapt over the Scottish Premiership champions into top spot.

Yes being in second spot, come the middle of September, seems to mean that Celtic must be in some sort of crisis. That sums up Scottish football these days.

A wide variety of the media plus a fair amount of Celtic’s own support are reporting disharmony amongst the ranks at Parkhead. All agree that Ronny Deila’s team should be preforming better and the fact they aren’t means that conspiracy theorists are out in force.

The Daily Record have taken a slightly narcissistic approach to the story through Chief Football Writer Keith Jackson’s column. If you dig past the usual sob story about being banned from yet another set of Old Firm press conferences you get a few of Keith’s ideas on what’s gone wrong at Celtic Park.

Murmurs on social media outlets from Celtic supporters suggests that current assistant manager John Collins could be the reason for squad discontent at the Lennoxtown training ground. The ex-Scottish internationalist does love to hear his own voice and watch himself down a camera lens, so could his arrogant ways be hampering team morale? Another one for the mibees aye, mibees naw column. When I wrote about the Collins appointment I said it could go either way and that he needed to keep his ego in check if it was going to work (Feel like the Record now).

The statement Collins made that questioned the merits of opposing Scottish sides was laughed at at the time, especially when you consider the amount of purchases Celtic made in the Scottish market in the last two seasons. But it is now being used to mock the coach after every insipid display the champions make and that has happened too often so far this season.

Rangers fans have obviously loved having their say on the subject. Many of them comparing Ronny to one Paul Le Guen, a former Gers boss who was much heralded before becoming extremely unwanted at Ibrox with his players ultimately downing tools. I think the comparison is an unfair one, after all Deila did win a double with Celtic last term.c

So lets look at problems we actually know exist at Parkhead at the moment.

The Champions League KO was unexpected and a huge blow for Deila and the club as a whole. Getting to the lucrative group stages is where the fans want to be and it can boost the bank balance by a sizeable amount.

This term they had a great chance to qualify as only Swedish champions Malmo FF stood in their way. The Glasgow side were two goals up after just ten minutes at Celtic Park but then it all went pear-shaped. The squad lacked hunger and fight, while Deila was tactically outclassed by Norwegian counterpart Åge Hareide. The Scottish champs were naive and suffered a 4-3 defeat over two legs.

Now they find themselves in the Europa League and that competition now becomes increasingly important for the Hoops, especially for the board.


Because it is still a very good shop window to expose players talents. Look what happened when Celtic failed to reach the Champions League group stages last month. It meant that they needed to sell Virgil van Dijk to Southampton in a bid to balance the books, not my words but those of Chief Executive Peter Lawwell. The Dutchman impressed in Europe and that allowed Celtic to sell him for a fee that could reach £13m!

Say the struggle against Fenerbahce, Ajax and Molde, and that is quite possible given their start to this season, and that could see players like Nir Biton and Stefan Johansen have a decreased value in the transfer market. Thus meaning that the pressure to qualify for next years Champions League intensifies or they could struggle to fill the void on their balance sheets.

Many, including myself, thought Ronny had learnt a lot in his debut season at Parkhead but he made similar mistakes at the same stages this season and that cannot reflect well on him.

That said, I still think Lawwell and the Celtic board could have done more to help their head coach by bringing in more experienced personnel to help bolster the club’s squad.

You then look at club captain Scott Brown.

The midfielder has been extremely poor this term, especially in the bigger games. Against Malmo, Aberdeen and with Scotland against Georgia, the usually dependable Brown was practically anonymous, would lose the bulk of 50-50s and would often see opposing players running away from him and into dangerous positions.

At the moment Brown reminds me of an ageing Barry Ferguson. Both had superb reputations as youngsters and could dominate midfields but rhen stalled due to injuries. Running around with a puffed out chest and relying on reputation can only hide bad form for so long.

Deila might have to manage Brown better and rest him more if he wants to see his leader return to top form. Charlie Mulgrew is another one desperately struggling to find any form at the moment.

When it comes to man-management, it seems like Deila still has problems fitting Kris Commons into his starting eleven. That seems odd given the player has become a talismanic figure for his side and that he is made for the special occasions. Yet Ronny didn’t start with Commons away in Sweden and left him on the bench on Saturday just when his teammates needed a bit of creative inspiration.

The clubs defence needs a lot of work on it on the training field.

They seem to constantly struggle defending set-pieces and high balls into their box. Obviously replacing a partnership like Van Dijk and Jason Denayer was going to be tough and patience is needed. But that isn’t a commodity that is given to an Old Firm side whose fans want things yesterday.

New signing Dedryck Boyata hasn’t had much in the way of regular football in the past few seasons and that has shown up in his play for Celtic as he’s been rusty at best. A lot of the Celtic faithful remain unconvinced over the Belgian’s abilities at the back.

The scouting team at Parkhead will have their fingers crossed that £4m new boy Jozo Simunovic can hit the ground running!

To be honest, when I’ve watched Celtic this season, I get the impression that they are struggling to find any inspiration. They look as if they just need to turn up and they will pick up a win. That ends up being a dangerous trap.

That cannot continue and like last term, Deila has to regroup and get the best out of his pool of players. The longer he can’t do it the more likely the Celtic fans will judge him as being not good enough to be in charge long-term. More early season misery will also add evidence to the conspiracy theorists that there’s disharmony within the club.

I think the ‘Bhoys’ will gain their fifth league title in a row and could even end up with a treble. But that won’t mask the cracks if Celtic don’t start winning in style and if they fail in the Europa League.

Without doubt things aren’t going to plan for Deila and his boys at the moment. It’s not a crisis yet but it is also far from perfect!

Just how bad are things at ‘Paradise’? Well I’ll leave that to the tabloids and the gossip-mongers.

One Response to “Celtic: Is There Really Trouble At Paradise?”

  1. I cannot believe that 2 red cards (Considine, McLean (head kick) + an Aberdeen pen that was a travesty has been completely ignored by the SMMedia.SSB have air-brushed it as well. I know a lot of people hate moaning about refs but I’m not one of them. To me that Aberdeen game was match fixed in a very similar fashion to McLean at the Cup Semi. Why does the club just meekly go on accepting this crap ? I’ve sometimes wondered whether the club have been made to understand that if they make ripples on the reffing issue they’ll be expelled from the league ? Why do Celtic never build on a good foundation but always seem to downsize thereafter ? I’ve lost faith in Delia totally.He came from a small club with no history of success,is maybe only just beginning to understand the refereeing handicap that the club has always had and seems non-inspirational. The departure of VVD and Denayer has left a massive hole as yet unfilled.Malmo was a watershed- and a reality check.Obviously at board level they’re resigned to no CL football.Only 2 CL group appearances in the last seven years and the worst Celtic team for years.I can see Aberdeen winning the league,cos the refs will give them everything.To hear Ronnie say “We must defend set pieces better ” repeatedly is very worrying.Have those guys never played football before ?
    That’s two rookie Managers on the trot.Celtic are in decline. I want Desmond/Lawwell/Delia OUT ASAP BEFORE WE DETERIORATE TO SAY LOSING TO RANGERS IN A CUP AND THE LEAGUE TO ABERDEEN. I EXPECT 3-0 FOR AJAX ON THURSDAY.I PREDICTED THE MALMO AND ABERDEEN LOSSES although as far as I’m concerned there was no way Thomson was going to let Celtic win. Who scouts for Celtic ? they need replacing.

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