When I cast my mind back to September and October, I recall the murmurings for Ronny Deila’s to go. As Celtic strived for form, the fans had their say but Celtic’s head coach went about his business.
Deila has had his critics and some have even been on the money regarding team selection and tactics. With the greatest of respect to those fans though, their views have been one dimensional.
Deila has tried a few blends in the early months of the season. It has helped him to get to know his players and their capabilities.
His football philosophy goes beyond the field of play though. This has gone over the heads some supporters particularly when results and performances haven’t been to their liking.
As fans, many of us are guilty of only being interested in what’s on show on match days. In reality there is much more to it than that especially during a period of transition.
Deila has been trying to change the culture within the club and the players have backed this. However, reliable as ever, the good old Scottish media (including ex-Celtic players) have all bashed this philosophy, not just Celtic supporters.
When you don’t see what’s going on behind the scenes and performances fall short of expectations it is easy to understand why paying fans have been unhappy. We are used to watching Celtic anihilate the rest of the Scottish football most weeks.
This season has not been anything like that. Its been a challenging one which quite frankly was desperately needed.
Scottish football has been without a challenge for long enough and the second half of the last two seasons have been dire. Aberdeen, Hamilton, Dundee United are amongst those teams who deserve credit for their efforts this season but it has also been overdue.
With changes taking place at Celtic I also felt that we should assess what Ronny had done come Christmas. I mean, even Mowbray got until March!
With the New Year on the horizon and Celtic’s last fixture of 2014 at 3pm today against Ross County, we can now look at where we are. Having narrowly lost to Dundee United last Sunday, defeat will still be fresh in the mind but how do the doubters feel about what lies ahead?
Despite exiting the Champions League, the club remain in Europe. The Europa League is ideal for Celtic right now whilst the Champions League would have been a disaster (last season is a evidence of that).
On the domestic front Celtic are at the top of the league. It may be by a narrow margin but do we really want to run away with the league?
A competitive league is something I’ve always craved. Whether that is other clubs upping their game or Celtic not firing on all cylinders (or both) only time will tell.
The important thing is that things have improved. Celtic are by bo means the finished article but there are further changes on the horizon.
Some Celtic players will resolve their futures in January. With some likely to move on we could even see one or two additions.
There is more to come in 2015 for Celtic fans and right now it looks much more interesting than the last two league run-ins have been. More importantly, Celtic remain in the fight for four competitions.
For a new head coach with fresh ideas thats its not a bad start for Ronny Deila. The question is do you want to see how far this can go or do you still want him to go?
Three points today Celtic and a Happy New Year. Here’s to 2015 and the challenges ahead.