Change is never easy, but time is on our side.

When I read about football manager’s getting their marching orders so early in a season I find it sickening, particularly when it is their first season at a club. I haven’t changed my stance on that in the case of Ronny Deila either and I remain, for now, a supporter of his.

With the Scottish Premiership nine games old, Celtic sit in sixth place. They have played one game less than the five teams placed above them and sit a mere four points off the top spot.

Celtic are not running away with the league as is expected these days. With their old rivals long gone, the forecast is not about who will win, its by what margin.

Last season was a pretty dire affair, particularly after Celtic’s exit from Europe by which time the league was a forgone conclusion. It wasn’t a particularly good European campaign either but that was to be expected having lost the spine of the team that had been the cornerstone of each good performance.

You see without European football, the domestic campaign will always be like a wet weekend. Winning the league isn’t all that special when you’ve obliterated teams that cannot match you.

So whilst losing to Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Hamilton Academical might seem disastrous to supporters, I suggest that it lays down a challenge. Credit must be paid to the SPFL clubs, particularly when stronger teams like Motherwell sit well below.

A couple of years ago, after the downfall of Celtic’s old foes, I laid down my wish that other clubs would come and have a go. That a challenge in the league would be welcome for the sake of Scottish football.

We balk at English suggestion that it was always a two horse race in Scotland. Though for the last couple of seasons it has been a solo run.

I’m certainly not lobbying for the phoenix club across the city to fill a void left by their predecessors because let’s face it they might not even make that far. What I do welcome though is a stronger Scottish Premiership.

Right now we have that through whatever circumstances that may be. I would suggest that this is healthy for the game in Scotland.

My point here is that I don’t want Celtic to run away with the league. Where is the entertainment in that?

If anything there is an opportunity for Celtic to do something different within the club. For many Ronny Deila was a budget appointment but I see it differently.

I said a few months ago that it was a left field move by bringing in Deila. Personally, I didn’t think the club had the balls to go down this road and as well as proving me wrong, I also think the risk involved is affordable.

By taking that risk Celtic have a chance to raise the bar. If Ronny Deila has the backing of the board to impose these changes then surely this is a positive move for the club’s professional standards?

The media and the fans have both voiced their opinions on Deila’s belief in the 24 hour athlete. Those who have mocked him about that are a true reflection of those unwilling to make a change for the better, as seen during Paul Le Guen’s time across the city.

Given half a chance to be a professional sportsman, I would jump at the chance to be the best and I’d be more than willing to make lifestyle changes. Deila wasn’t wrong about guys like Andy Murray either.

You can play against any team at any time in your career. If you want to compete you have to be doing it the same level or better than the best.

As a tennis player Murray might never be the best in the world but look what he has done by pushing himself in all areas. Anthony Stokes might never become Henrik Larsson by changing his lifestyle but at least we know we’ll have the fittest version of the Irishman.

Yet for some it isn’t about that. Its about Deila being clueless on the park.

In all honesty, I don’t think what we are seeing now is as good as it is going to get. Deila is a young manager and a stranger to Scottish football but he is also someone who could pioneer something brilliant at Celtic if he is given the chance but he’ll need more than two months.

If the section of the fans who want him gone were to get their wish now, where would we go from here? Where does Scottish football go?

Do we go back to fizzy drinks and crisps because its always been like that? Or do we dare to try something new with the possibility of influencing the rest of Scottish football by attempting to emulate the standards set by other European clubs?

I don’t know about you but I would like to see what Ronny Deila can produce for this club in the long term. Its not just about today or tomorrow, but rather next week and the months and years that follow.

Change doesn’t come easy and it doesn’t happen overnight either. Celtic have time on their side and for once I am glad they are being bold enough to do something with it rather than just winning the league come new year.

The ground work being laid might not resonate with many supporters at this moment in time or produce the football on the park. However, if Ronny Deila can emboss the standards now it can attract and create a better player within Celtic Football Club in the future.

If one year from now we are sitting here with Celtic looking like a deflated dinghy then I’ll hold my hands up. In reality though, we’ve only just entered October and are far from the finished article so let’s just sit tight and let things unfold.

Time is on our side.

Hail! Hail!

Stevie

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8 thoughts on “Change is never easy, but time is on our side.

  1. “When you praise mediocrity, you condemn greatness”

    Football managers are judged on one thing only, results on the park. Yes soem coaches can be praised for implementing an attractive style of play, or their ability to spot and sign a hitherto unheard of superstar or they can be lauded for trying to instigate a change in methods of training and working. But these things, for a coach, are on the most part secondary.

    Ronny Deila, as manager of Celtic, has taken it upon himself, whether through his own volition or insistence of his employers, to change everything about Celtic, and that includes the fact we used to win games.
    It is evident Deila is not a footballing tactician when looking at Celtic’s performances and his constant reference to physical fitness. Instead he appears to be a trainer rather than a coach, with his style of “management” based almost exclusively on his players being extremely fit. The fact, as shown in his first 14 games, that Deila is unable to marry his fitness ideals with a clear tactical plan is what has mired Celtic in this mess.
    Simply, Ronny Deila and John Collins have yet to display any tactical acumen whilst in charge of Celtic. From the decision to continue running at Legia Warsaw when we were a goal and a man down, to the inability to create chances against Legia, Maribor and Hamilton at home to the imbalanced nature of his often rotated first team matchday squads.
    It is these facts, 17 games played against 8 SPL and Championship teams and KR Reykjaviik, Legia Warsaw, Maribor, Salzburg and Dinamo Zagreb, yielding 8 wins, 4 draws and 5 defeats, of which 3 were at home.
    Transitional maybe, but when Deila takes over a Celtic side, whatever it’s faults, that lost only once in 38 league games and set a defensive clean sheet record, then such failure can only be excused on the grounds of “implementing new methods” if the fruits of those methods can be seen. However, they can’t.

    Is Celtic’s playing style any better than seasons before? Are we more direct? More considered? Are the players responding well? Do we pass the ball better, are we a more concentrated squad? The answer is a resounding no. This Celtic side have no discernable style. Barcelona between 2008-2013 had a style, Spain of the same era did, Arsenal under Wenger, Dortmund under Klopp, Stoke whilst managed by Pulis, Swansea with Martinez and Rodgers in charge all had an identifiable “style” owing to their managers methods. Celtic under Deila will take time to develop theirs, but Deila’s massages are so mixed, his tactics so questionable and his results so poor that Celtic are suffering, and will continue to, in pursuit of Deila’s utopia.

    Let’s just state facts, we are a poor team, made poorer by Collins and Deila. Ambrose at right back has been awful, Berget when played has been a passenger. The midfield lack direction, the ball is played wide, we run at pace and do very little around the box. Anthony Stokes attitude and application on the pitch is abysmal, Griffiths is the same off it. Kris Commons has been our best player for the last 2 years and yet when he plays, our former attacking fulcrum looks lost.
    We’ve lost away to Inverness, were lucky to scrape a point at Dundee and at home to Motherwell and we were appalling against Hamilton.
    Peter Lawwell can talk in public about our great finances, but when we are being outperformed and beaten regularly by teams much poorer than us in terms of finance and personnel then the most important part of the club, the team, needs sorting.
    None of the other SPL teams are really any good, either comparatively or not. Most of Dundee’s players have been mired in the lower leagues for the past 4 years, Hamilton have a squad made up of journeymen and youngsters from the amateurs and Division 1, Motherwell sit next to bottom having been battered by Ross County and others recently, Inverness have more English Conference alumni than most English Conference teams. Good as it is to see a “competitive” league, it’s not owed to an upsurge in quality, rather it is Celtic being so utterly clueless and directionless that clubs who charge much lower ticket prices than us, because they admit the quality on show and demand are lower, are beating us regularly. The SPL, sadly, is not filled with good teams, European qualifiers for Aberdeen, St Johnstone and Motherwell bare that fact out irrevocably. So it is to be expected that Celtic, with the squad on offer, the finance brought in, should be in a far healthier position when the quality of opposition is looked at.

    Ronny Deila, in 17 games, is proving himself not up to the task as of yet.

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  2. Stevie, totally agree with your piece, Ronny needs to be given the time to properly implement his changes, changes that I believe will benefit us in the long term. I like yourself couldn’t believe when I hear Lennon, Sutton, Walker et al almost dismiss or laugh at the fact that Ronny has changed the players dietary needs and base this on the results. Ronny did inherit a below par Celtic team no matter how many points we on the league by, but my making these average players fitter stronger and giving them a new found believe we have a much better chance of competing at a higher level, Ronny’s closing game and high line (which all top teams implement) requires players be active and alert for the full 90 minutes. How many times have we seen kris commons coming off with 20 minutes to go? If he lost a stone and half he would be better equipped to last full games and make more of an impact. We do need to clear out a lot of dead weight, (Which I include Van Dijk in, guy looks classy but very rarely gives you 100%),but I think given the time he will do it and build a team not just to compete for two to three years but build a legacy.

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  3. Are these people who stick up for ronny disaster for real, the man is totally out of his depth but I don’t blame him ,he cant help being clueless ,no I blame the people who employed him in the first place.New managers take time to bed in. absolute nonsense 2months into the season and we cant muster a goal at home against Hamilton.I’m afraid this sorry mess will rumble on for a few more weeks yet.

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  4. kombuchisclay

    A well written and articulate response, however to blame the manager for the ineptness is unfair and unjustified.

    The guy stood a tall task to hit the ground running in a foreign country, in a league he did not know and with players he was unaware of under normal circumstances.

    He was taking over a squad, who had largely been together for 3-4 years and were very stuck in their ways – Mulgrew himself said they were in their comfort zone.

    So hes had that to contend with.

    He was then told who his trusted assistant would be – which he has also had to contend with.

    He was then given a database of players already scouted under the previous regime and told to pick what he wanted – which he had to contend with.

    He was then told he couldnt have what he wanted because we had decided buying wasnt the right thing to do anymore, so he had to contend with picking players available on loan.

    Players willingly available on loan in July & August are either prospects – or unwanted players.

    He has also had to contend with a media eager to twist every single word he says in the process.

    And to make matters worse the clubs support seem to have decided 17 games is enough for you to get everything right on the pitch – football fans are a fickle fickle breed that much is a known fact – Celtic fans are supposed to be among the best in the world.

    People also have selective memories and have conveniently forgotten the fact the previous regime walked in to their usual annual appraisal meeting only to resign 2 hours later – a whopping 7 hours before Celtic were able to hurriedly negotiate the confidentiality agreement in his contract and release a statement.

    They also forget that Roy Keane, after being asked if he was interested in taking the Celtic job held talks with the powers that be, only to leave 2 hours later declaring he wasnt interested in the job (and subsequently accepted being a relegation candidates assistant managers job!)

    Stop kidding yourselves on thinking the grass is greener and that there is a manager out there available and interested that would make a significant difference working to same, ridiculous brief that those powers that be have set.

    I have my concerns about Ronny, however perspective is needed as well as time.

    If you must take your frustrations out on someone – look beyond the puppet and closer to the masters.

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  5. In 3 months time never mind next year Ronny Disaster will not be our manager, that is fact ! I do blame the powers at be at celtic park who hand picked this imposter he hasn’t got a Scooby !

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