Ronny Deila’s Last Game At Celtic Left Us Thinking About What Should Have Been

17 Sound of Celtic

So Ronny Deila signed off at Celtic yesterday after overseeing his side triumph over Motherwell by a huge 7-0 scoreline.

But as the Norwegian, his coaching staff and the players celebrated by lifting yet another Scottish Premiership title many were still left scratching their heads.

When Deila first walked through the doors at Celtic Park back in the summer of 2014, he issued this rallying cry:

“I want to deliver the best attacking, exciting and entertaining football we can play, for the players to give their best every time they take to the field of and, of course, I want my players to work with me to achieve the best results possible and bring trophies to Celtic.”

He came with the reputation of giving youngsters their chance in the team and also stated he wanted his players to become professional 24 hour athletes.

But for the most part Deila’s plans seemed to be lost in translation.

His idea of professional athletes wasn’t best portrayed by older pros in his squad. Captain Scott Brown was pictured drunk on the streets of Edinburgh just before a cup final, midfielder Kris Commons berated the Celtic dugout after being subbed and Anthony Stokes¬†was taking to twitter to complain about team selection during a game in Inverness. Those stories questioned Deila’s authority.

When it came to the crunch it seemed as though Deila wasn’t keen on playing a group of youngsters a lot of the time. It seemed to be more of a sporadic approach with Liam Henderson, Joe Thomson, Callum McGregor and Eoghan O’Connell getting runs outs. Only McGregor got the chance to show Ronny what he could do on a more consistent basis without really setting the fire alight.

Obviously the main youngster to come into the team and hold his own was eighteen year old full-back Kieran Tierney, who has been an outstanding performer this term. His energetic but disciplined displays were often joyous to watch and deservedly earned him senior international recognition.

But should we have expected more? Are they not producing good enough talents at Lennoxtown?

I also think Ronny often struggled to understand the fans and what they wanted. He mentioned attacking, exciting football in his first press conference but all too often Parkhead seemed to fall silent as players went through the motions or underperformed, especially in the bigger occasions.

Too often Celtic would concede sloppy late goals or goals from set pieces. That showed us that the work on the training ground wasn’t paying off. The Deila squad wasn’t full of athletes in peak fitness and they didn’t seem well drilled in every eventuality.

Really, for me, we only truly saw a glimpse of what Celtic could have been like at their best under the young Norwegian manager during the second half of last season.

Between January the first and the last game of the 2014-15 season they lost just three times. Once in the league to St Johnstone and they were unlucky in Italy against Inter Milan in the Europa League.

But just when you thought a corner had been turned they threw away their big chance of a treble and lost 3-2 to Inverness Caley Thistle in the Scottish Cup semi final.

I don’t think Deila ever recovered from that defeat.

This season Europe turned out to be a disaster again and Rangers knocked them out of the Scottish Cup at Hampden last month.

Yes there have been bright points. Tierney’s introduction as I’ve already mentioned and Leigh Griffiths’ form in front of goal.

Ronny Deila’s handling of the new signings, the Scottish ones in particular, often frustrated the Celtic faithful.

He’s never really managed to get the best out of Stuart Armstrong or Gary Mackay-Steven. After the big hullabaloo in getting Scott Allan from under the noses of Rangers, we’ve hardly seen him in a Hoops jersey. Ryan Christie was another who struggled to get a regular start, even though the fans wanted to see him more.

But yesterday it all seemed to come together, just when it was all too late for Deila at Celtic.

Five Scots started the game including Tierney, McGregor, Armstrong and Christie. Tierney and Christie would get their first Celtic goals as the team demolished Motherwell at Parkhead.

It wasn’t a one half blitz either, no Celtic would control the entire game with their dynamic assured display.

Delia even brought on sixteen year old forward Jack Aitchison who scored with his first touch.

As the sun shone down on Celtic Park and the young Celtic stars dismantled Motherwell with much skill and a hunger that only energises the Celtic crowd, it’s strange to think that those same fans were turning up at the stadium yesterday happy to say cheerio to Ronny Deila.

But that’s because performances like the one they saw yesterday weren’t a regular occurrence in Glasgow’s east end in the last two seasons.

Finally Ronny gave the fans the energy, the homegrown player and the slick attacking football he had promised them two years ago. It’s just a pity he waited to give them it as a parting gift!

4 Responses to “Ronny Deila’s Last Game At Celtic Left Us Thinking About What Should Have Been”

  1. I agree with much of your article and I am pleased to see consideration of pros and cons. Too many of the Celtic bloggers have been hard to read recently.

    The only point you make that I might take a little issue with is the Caley semi final loss. The officials were never going to let us win that one. The “honest mistakes” were blatantly obvious that day and the officials know that they were less than honest. Ronny and the Bhoys cannot be fully blamed for that.

    With some pruning, there is a fine squad at Celtic at the moment and we should see more growth. Perhaps we might need a couple of additions, but the future should be bright.

    At times we needed CB cover this year and Ronny was not brave enough to use the Centre Backs that you have mentioned above. In general he showed a reluctance to use the youngsters and here at the end of the season, when the league is won, we see youngsters in the ream with more established players, playing with a freedom which belies what we were watching for most of the season past.

    It might be a great thing if the new manager plays the players in their correct positions to get the best out of them as well. Why did Ronny not show the bravery with youngsters that he showed on the final day? Well, the pressure was less I suppose. However, the game against Motherwell shows how good the football can be.

    I felt this season that I was watching the same game every week. However, Ronny goes with my best wishes for the future as he is a good and decent human being. More than anything else, I think that is important.

  2. Thanks for the comment.

    A few incidents crossed my mind when I wrote about that game but ultimately I think Celtic should be able to overcome refereeing decisions and win most games.

    I agree that playing youngsters is a hard call at CP given the pressures. But I am a bit surprised that he didn’t make most of his bench. Have a few of the better youths there and when the team are winning comfortably bleed them into the side.

    Very true he’s a decent man who tried his best.

  3. I think Deila did a good job. We must realise that he inherited an ordinary team. The fact that Celtic failed in Europe should not surprise anyone. After all Celtic are not good enough and the club has not the money to buy international quality players.

  4. Deila had no luck with his central defence injuries and questionable imports except for Sviachienko.
    The loss to Malmo as Lawwell stated was the end for Celtic
    He really IMO was on his way to building a team that will be powerful with the best young Scottish players .
    Woe betide us if we get a manager who has all his brains in his feet
    A major problem IMO was he was intimidated by the support ,social media, the media and former Celtic players(I have lost any respect I ever had for those men)
    .I agree that the ICT game was the end for Deila
    .He could see that Celtic had to fight the establishment for fairness and that Scotland is not a level playing field country.
    .We will miss him and Celtic have lost a potentially great manager because of the expectations of impatient supporters, social media and a hostile Scottish establishment
    .Personally you are better out of this bigoted wee fiefdom

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