Stick or twist?

Ronny Deila’s job just got that little bit harder. In the wake of this season’s first Europa League defeat he is now under full scrutiny as Celtic manager.

Having weathered last season’s storm he and his players got into rhythm and looked to have turned a corner. This season we haven’t seen an improvement and are being worn down by the team’s own shortcomings.

I’ll nail my colours to the mast, I’m supporter of Ronny Deila and I want his plan to come to fruition. We’re not seeing evidence of it though.

There are many talking points on this. It doesn’t all come down to one person though.

Celtic have brought in and moved on some very good players in the last few years. That is where the club are at these days and I have no problem with that.

The most recent example is Virgil van Dijk. Rumours are not unfamiliar with Celtic but his departure was certified if the Champions League failed to materialise.

So with that eventually being te case and the on-loan Jason Denayer back at parent club Manchester City, Celtic no longer had a central defence. At best, Efe Ambrose was back up and certainly not a player to build your team around.

Mikael Lustig is a player whose skills and abilities have at times been hampered by injury. We’ve seen more of him recently and whilst that has been pleasing, he cannot carry the defence.

On the opposite berth, Emilio Izaguirre has had flashes in his debut season form. He is still often been found out defensively though which is why seeing young Kieran Tierney emerge has been encouraging.

With Adam Matthews departing for Sunderland and Darnell Fisher going out on loan to St Johnstone, Celtic were further weakened defensively. The arrival of Dedryck Boyata appeared to be swift and many would have though we were getting a maturer Denayer but I’ve yet to be convinced.

Celtic’s bold move for Jozo Šimunović at the supposed fee of £5.5M took be by surprise. For a player of his age there is a lot of pressure on him to match the valuation and with injury being his great contribution to the team, we’re still waiting to see what he can do.

Saidy Janko signed a four contract and fellow Manchester United colleague Tyler Blackett signed on loan to bolster the depleted ranks. Neither had a vast amount of first team experience though.

As yet, we have yet to see this current crop of defenders form an understanding. Many factors have played a part in this but it is alarming that Celtic are so vulnerable at the back.

Even the fine first season Craig Gordon had under Ronny Deila is beginning to look like a one off. So far he has escaped criticism from most but he has been as culpable as any Celtic defender this season.

So where do we go from here? Is it it just a failed defence that blights the Celtic cause or is there a bigger issue in play?

Celtic aren’t exactly prolific up front either these days or well endowed and despite the acquisition of Carlton Cole, he can’t play in Europe. That short sightedeness hurt Celtic last season and it appears we haven’t learned from that issue.

Like him or not, Stefan Šćepović should not have left the club without a suitable replacement.Nadir Çiftçi is not an out and out striker and we’ve entered this campaign without sufficient strikers.

The midfield on the other hand has a good supply of players. Even with the dip in form of Stefan Johansen, the performances of Nir Bitton and Tom Rogić have given us hope.

Even still, Kris Commons made his feelings known for all the world to see when he was substituted on Thursday evening. That was followed by a humble apology on Friday in front of the media.

As much as venting his spleen was unprofessional and underminding of the management, it did add weight to the fans argument that Ronny might be losing the fight. Many want him out and have done since last season.

Whist it is difficult to defend such appalling Celtic performances, I don’t wish to see Ronny Deila fail. I like the guy, I like that Celtic opted for a coach like him but this turn of events has made me wonder whether he has his reached limitations or simply requires more time to make things work.

Despite the Commons protest, the players have still come out and backed Deila. If the club are to get through this period it will only be done by standing together.

There needs to be a positive reaction to this bout of negativity. The Europa League is still salvageable and the Scottish Premiership remains on course but the one burning question for many is would Ronny Deila be given another crack at the Champions League?

Neil Lennon had two cracks at Europe before reaching the Champions League and one of those attempts was at the expense of FC Sion. Similarly, Ronny got another crack at Europe at expense of Legia Warsaw, albeit a different competition and different set of circumstance but as someone pointed out to me yesterday, Ronny has had better chances to get into the Champions League.

To ensure a third season happens, everyone at Celtic will have to step up there game. Not just Ronny Deila, but the players, the coaching staff and the scouts.

Today Celtic host Dundee United. With Aberdeen being held to a draw by Motherwell, Celtic have the chance to widen the gap at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

This team needs and enema.

Hail! Hail!

Stevie Mac

12 thoughts on “Stick or twist?

  1. We have been put out of Europe and are currently struggling in Europe, thanks to teams,who are at best,no bad…and that says it all for me.
    Ronny has brought many positives to the Club and that should be acknowledged, but performances and results are what he’s paid for…and that’s where it comes crashing down.
    I expect any new guy to bring improvemnts to the team month on month…but we are now going backwards.
    I can’t stand the way we over-pass the ball..sometimes very badly…and the way we defend…Or don’t defend as the case may be.
    Everyone in our back four needs to be a Franz Beckenbauer it seems to me…and this is where we suffer.
    Centre backs shouldn’t be swanning up the park and losing the ball with a careless pass…it happens far too often and it should have been stopped by now…What is John Kennedy’s role…if not to eradicate this kind of play?
    And as for him as a winger if you must play him…but not at full back…he’s a liability…and the worst crosser of a ball in Scotland.
    I could go on all day…but enough’s enough.
    The top men at our Club need to seriously look at the situation…before its too late.


  2. Pingback: Stick or twist? | The Celtic Footsoldiers

  3. It’s a very difficult question.
    Firstly I am a Deila fan and if it’s not working it’s not due to reaching his limitations because he cut his teeth with significantly less resources.

    Deila hasn’t helped himself with peculiar team selections and substitutions along with the lack of Plan B and these are mostly failures of his own doing.

    What isn’t of his own doing is what I believe is the crux of the real problem.

    The problem is the ‘brief’ he is working under.

    It’s the brief that caused Lennon to resign on the spot to the shock of all including his assistant manager and made obvious with the 8 hour delay before Celtic announced it publicly.

    It’s the same brief that caused Roy Keane to say no, despite having accepted a job at Ipswich a few years prior having been told his restrictive budget.

    if we change the manager, he would still be working to the same brief and have inferior players bought for them, all kids not allowed to spend money on experience because this isn’t, the phrase coined by Lawwell a few years ago ‘intellectual purchasing’ which dismisses success on the park soley based on re-sale value.

    So how different would results be with another manager and the same crap on the park?

    If the answer is significantly – then the change should happen.

    I don’t think it will because I think most managers would take the same opinion as Lennon and Keane.

    The problem is clearly the brief.

    The brief is set by Lawwell.

    However, if you change Lawwell he will only be replaced by another businessman set the exact same KPI’s to measure his performance.

    None of lawwell’s KPI’s have anything to do with success on the park, nothing to do with quality of player let alone any consideration given to the most important people – the fans which can be measured by bums on seats.

    There in lies the problem and in my opinion things will only change when our absentee landlord relinquishes his total control over the club.

    Let’s be honest here, he is hanging around in the knowledge if Celtic were to be given access to another league his money would multiply and multiply.

    Until then the decision makers have decided to sit tight, play safe and focus on profit / loss accounts only.

    We need a fresh pair of eyes to come in and give the club a fresh perspective, a perspective don’t give up trying to be best we can be.

    Meanwhile the quality on the park is in free for all, the business strategy on its last legs because soon that 1 player a year to sell will drop from being a £10m player to a £5m player meaning 2 will have to be sold, we are dangerously close to losing our seeded position for the qualifiers and we have stopped to loaning in other clubs kids.

    Change does need to happen – but it’s much higher up the food chain.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Who wrote this Peter Lawell? What policy is there …NONE…Denyer and VVD follow each other with neither an understudy from U21 or a decent transfer-in…Bombscare Ambrose in the centre of the defence..Efe has ball skills but where to play him is beyond me… 5 years of no competition from Govan way should have been an opportunuity to produce a set of “Quality Kids” from the young team..instead we get second rate of buy ins…Lawell and Desmond should hang their heads in shame…Goodbye Ronnie,,,close the door behind you please.


    • Fine article Liam and completely correct!…… opportunity dead and gone to produce a set of “quality kids”……..would this current Celtic team be better with Liam Henderson, O’Connell, Fisher
      and yes Christie brought in now….in my opinion they would , the dross should be cleared out and Ronny with every excuse under the sun when we underperform is clearly not up to the job.
      A pitiful excuse fro Deila in his reasoning as to why Johansen (pet) was kept on the pitch against Molde. Everything has been said about the one up front scenario as it does not work…..the fans will
      not pay good money week after week to watch this current team and attendances will plummet with one bad result against a ” smaller ” team. This Celtic team does not even resemble a Celtic team..
      Yes…close that door Ronny and slam it if you so wish.on your way out


  5. I know a lot of fans are calling for his head but I just don’t know what it would achieve. We would still have a board reluctant to invest in the team, opting for cheap unknowns. It’s a strategy I agree with in most part, we can’t compete in the current financial environment but we take it too far sometimes, this summer being the perfect example – Ronny wanted a left-back and we refused to pay for Dijks. As a result we went into the qualifiers with Izaguirre and Mulgrew again. It’s been a problem position in Europe for 2 years and it’s criminal we haven’t fixed it. You can bet they are praying Tierney makes the step up quickly so they don’t have to buy an Izzy replacement.

    Regardless of who’s in charge, we’ll still have Izzy wasting crosses and not picking up his men. We’ll still have Ambrose being Ambrose. If he gets dropped we’ve got Mulgrew and Blackett to look forward to. We’ll still have Lustig who can only play twice a week if it’s for Sweden. We’ll still have an ageing Scott Brown who seems to be having more bad games than good these days. We’ll still have a fat, lazy Kris Commons who will make everything centre around him and get his media pals to berate anyone who has the audacity not to play him.

    One of my key gripes with Ronny in the aftermath of Thursday was our apparent lack of plan to deal with their counter attacking – it was so obvious to see that they would play that way. From reading Scott Brown’s comments, it seems all of our work on the training ground was done preparing for exactly that, their counter attacks, and we just didn’t execute it well at all. I don’t know what more Ronny can do when the players simply don’t follow instructions. It confirms for me that of all the things that may be wrong at our club, Ronny is way down the list. Many of this current team are done IMO. It’s quite telling that 9 of the 11 on Thursday night played under Lennon – Ronny still hasn’t been given the chance to build his own team. I think we’ll see things improve the more this team is phased out – We have Janko, Tierney, Jozo, Allan, Christie and Nesbitt who all show promise along with Biton and Armstrong who the midfield is being built around. I don’t see Johansen or Commons in particular lasting much longer.

    I’m sticking with Ronny.


  6. The next 4 games will make or break Ronny….if we win them all then we will be 7 points clear at the top, in the league cup semi and back in contention in Europe and l think we will win these games.
    Once we sort the defence out we will be ok.
    Lets also remember that Ronny is the first manager to play open football in Europe wanting to outplay the other teams and again once we sort out our defence then things will change for the better. Before Ronny it was 10 men defending and trying to win free kicks and corners…..I will stick with Ronny and his football.


  7. Twist. He hasn’t got it I’m afraid.
    Europa league last season we couldn’t cement the place by ourselves we had to get help as we lost our last two qualifying games to Salzburg 3-1 at Home and Zagreb 4-3 away. The writing was on the wall.
    He has to go and bring someone in to teach these players what playing for the jersey is all about.
    Don’t blame the board Celtic should be beating Malmo,Maribor, and Molde ffs.


  8. In Ronny we trust Gieus a break Nice guy on how much per annum back to norway and take your staff and talk up your sleeve Joehanson with you


  9. i think we are going over the top in aying ronnie should be sacked sacked in my opinion collins has influenced ronnie he has not been able to bring in his own men to coa h the way he wants celtic to play so i say get rid of collins as well as kennedy as his coaching of the defence is called in to question the reason we are losing in europe is the players most of the ouropean games have beenlost through players making mistakes izzy,effe,boyata goalkeeper twice and even van dyke not ronnie we ha only lost a couple of games in europe with still an outside chance of qualifying for knockouts lennons record in hi first 2years were not any better so give ronni a chance get rid of collins and kennedy let him bring in his own team he knows enough now about scottish football so let him get on with it


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