The finish line is still a long way off and nothing has been won but isn’t it just a wee bit exciting? I’m not talking about beating Mk II Rangers (or their exit from another cup competition yesterday), I’m looking at the bigger picture.
Neil Lennon announced his departed from Celtic Football Club in May 2014. In the space of about two weeks his successor was announced and by Celtic standards that is pretty quick.
Ronny Delia was by no means a household name, as many of my non-Celtic supporting associates cared to mention at the time. With the speed at which he was installed though, suggests Celtic had already done their homework.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t know who Ronny was but in the modern day it doesn’t take long to find out someone’s background. Because you don’t know of someone though doesn’t mean they have nothing to offer and having read his résumé, I quickly began to like what this guy had to offer.
Even for Celtic this was a left field move but I like to think that despite how much some of our fans despise the people that the board consist of, we are progressing in the modern day. There was no preventing the cutting opinions or negative sentiments toward Deila in his early days of the current season.
To be quite frank, I had decided that I was going to reserve judgement until Christmas and had allowed some time to bed in. Change takes place over a long period of time and I was prepared to give him that.
Celtic had some harsh lessons at the beginning of the season. Europe was a mean testing ground for Ronny Deila and one which he was expected to emulate the highs of his predecessors.
With that in mind and the pressure of Champions League qualification it was no surprise that when you have fans with that level of expectation they were bound to be unhappy when Celtic exited the tournament in such disappointing fashion. Though the Europa League would be Ronny Deila’s saviour and an ideal way of testing his and his players own development.
Even without the growing domestic presence of John Guidetti available for Europe and a long list of injuries to squad players, Celtic carved out a respectable group phase. It could have been a lot better with more time served but Deila has made it to the last 32.
Given that Celtic were marching on in all three domestic competitions, Europe was a Brucey Bonus. Like I said, nothing has been won but surely Ronny is on the right tracks?
When you consider that a large portion of Celtic supporters were calling for the Norwegians head as early as September he has taken a group of players barely of his own making and made them challengers in four competitions in his first season. In my opinion that’s bloody marvellous when you look back on what some of our short sighted brethren have been bleating about all season.
Deila has added one or two players to his squad but he has been tasked with shaping his predecessors troops. He was was slated for enforcing lifestyle changes and setting the raising the bar to 24 hour athlete level.
That’s a huge change and one which I welcome but it does take time. And Deila wasn’t wrong when he said this was how top clubs operated.
If Celtic want to challenge at the highest level yet work within their financial means, then this is the way to do it. Setting the standard now will benefit the club in the years ahead.
My most common quote of the season has to be “even Mowbray got until March”. Mowbray’s auto-endorsement into the Celtic faithful was the undoing of the boards collective short-sightedness by appointing him in the first place and it pleases me little that only few saw his downfall before a ball was kicked.
So when a guy like Deila with modern methods in the modern day gets the nod it implies a that a degree of research has taken place. It was well documented by our ever so insightful media that Ronny was not first choice but I think he has been a good choice and certainly better than some of the contenders mentioned at the time.
Other than Barnes and Mowbray Celtic have made good managerial appointments for the last 20 years. They all had their ups and downs but were right for the time.
Tommy Burns, Wim Jansen, Jozef Venglos, Martin O’Neill, Gordon Strachan and Neil Lennon have all etched their mark in the clubs history by winning trophies or signing players instrumental in the success of Celtic. I suppose I should give some credit to Barnes for signing Stiliyan Petrov but in reality he played him well out of position in formation barely recognisable on any continent.
So what will Ronny’s legacy be? A first season treble or a even Europa League Final?
That remains to be seen but is everyone done with their bleating? Are we all on board the Deila bus?
The players are for sure and they are responding to the standards being set. Perhaps that will be Ronny Deila’s legacy.
Two of Dundee United’s best players are now on the Celtic books. Both look to be good acquisitions for the squad and in addition to this an extended contract for Kris Commons at long last.
Players like Commons and Griffiths are the perfect example of adherence. The team have moved up a gear and they are recent examples of that.
Another bonus is the fact that Celtic haven’t lost anyone other than Beram Kayal. His time at the club had expired and I am pleased for him and that he has a chance to restart his career.
There may be a few summer departures but for now, everyone remains a Celtic player. There is a four-pronged campaign going on don’t you know?