Celtic may as well burn their passports because right now they simply aren’t good enough to compete in Europe. Last night offered an opportunity to improve on a stuttering start in Group A of the Europa League but that failed to materialise.
Putting to one side any bad decisions we’ve had or unlucky moments, Celtic have not progressed this season. Last season we started badly then steadily things picked up.
Before this current campaign began I felt Ronny Deila could build upon that learning curve. A league and cup double as well as a last 32 place in the Europa League wasn’t bad for a first season in charge.
Considering how things started for Ronny, it was a reasonable finish to the season. He won over some fans and even put some critics on mute but they’ve merely been on standby until now.
As it turns out Celtic haven’t really made the progress we expected or wanted. We’re top of the league earlier than last season but we have regressed in Europe.
The funny thing is, there are actually some great individual positives in the team right now. Tierney, Bitton, Rogić and Griffiths are all in excellent form and ironically we’re still not out of the Europa League.
On the downside, our defence is weaker than ever and some players are playing well below the standard right now. We are also lightweight in attack with only one form striker in Griffiths.
However, it is our performances in Europe that concern us. We’ve missed out on the Champions League two years running and parachuted into the Europa League, which in all fairness isn’t any worse than Neil Lennon’s first two seasons in charge.
However, the chances Celtic have had to enter the Champions League and the opposition that have stood in our way were totally beatable. That is one of the biggest issues about those opportunities.
This season we might not make it to the last 32. For that reason alone, the numbers of Celtic fans calling time on Ronny Deila is on the rise.
I understand the opinions of those fans. However, I don’t see Deila being shown the door.
We all agree that in Europe it isn’t working. With a treble still on the table though, the club aren’t going to axe Ronny.
If he was getting pummelled by Aberdeen or Hearts then he might be seeking other employment. However he isn’t and he’s not.
Fan’s identify different areas to our current situation. For some it’s the coaching team, for others it’s the players but the board and Lawwell are also getting it in the neck.
Yet we’ve out spent some of the teams who have overcome us with ease. That raises questions about the coaching and players.
To solve the problem you have to identify what the issues are. In the league we’re doing okay but it could be a lot better.
In Europe we’re devoid of ideas and lackadaisical in defence. The passion and desire are not there.
Ronny’s methods appear to be fresh forward thinking. Are they getting Celtic the results the need or will they ever?
He could continue winning the league year after year in the current climate. Unless another club really can push Celtic or the tribute act survive long enough to make it to the Premiership and mount a challenge, there isn’t really much danger of losing the league.
It is in Europe that most if not all Celtic fans want to see progress though. We live for these occasions but Ronny is coming up short.
Playing Inter Milan last season had me foaming at the mouth about Europe given how unlucky we were. I’ve been brought crashing down to Earth on that matter given our current continental performances.
Europe is difficult territory. It can take money to get to the pinnacle but to compete it merely takes guile and tactical nous.
The latter comes from the coaching team but we appear to be suffering in that department. Sure, the players are making mistakes but is it all down to them or are the instructions and tactics flawed for Europe?
Getting rid of Deila will not change anything in my opinion. Unless Celtic are recruiting someone who can improve things in Europe then it’s a pointless exercise.
I like Ronny and would like to see him succeed but in Europe he is tactically naive. It was a very similar story for Neil Lennon in his first two seasons as well.
We can discuss player errors and individual performances but putting the defensive predicament to one side for a moment, this squad of players should be performing much better as a team than they currently are. I don’t think there is much wrong with the overall quality, but there is a question mark over motivation, game plan and leadership.
Something has to change. We can start with hearing some honesty from Celtic Park.