Celtic bounced back from European disappointment once more by beating Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Sunday. Despite concerns over the weather, the game went ahead and the trip wasn’t a wasted journey for the fans or the team, well unless of course you are Anthony Stokes.
He tweeted his disappointment at being left out of the starting eleven and bench. What drove him to voicing his opinion on social media I have no idea but it was foolish.
As Ronny Deila pointed out to the press, it’s the same format each game. 20 payers to choose from, 11 start and 7 sit on the bench with 2 inevitably missing out.
We can debate whether Stokes deserves a chance or not another time but his absence from the team these days is nothing new. Why disclose your unhappiness now?
We were treated to an apology on Twitter later on but it won’t help him get back into the team if that was his aim. Perhaps he should take a leaf out of Carlton Cole’s tweeting handbook….or maybe not.
Regardless, Celtic ran out 3-1 winners with goals from Deila favourite Callum McGregor, leading goalscorer Leigh Griffiths and an own-goal-via Carlton Cole’s hand. It’s generally a difficult match at the Caldeonian Stadium so 3 points after a European defeat and an exit from the tournament at the same time, was a welcome boost.
The treble remains Ronny Deila’s target for the season. It won’t come easy but he needs this trophy haul to win over some of the doubters.
Out there among the Celtic support is a growing proportion of fans seeking changes. As I’ve said before I just don’t see that happening right now.
The last Celtic manager to depart before the end of the season was Tony Mowbray. Ronny isn’t in that category because it’s a different scenario.
He hasn’t blown it domestically as Mowbray had. He hasn’t lost the dressing room either, with the exception of Stokes and maybe Kris Commons.
Ultimately, it will be the board of directors who will decide Ronny’s fate but not until the end of the season and even then it is unlikely they will be looking for a replacement in the summer. So if you’re a Celtic supporter calling for the head of the Norwegian, you may as well save your breath.
The way things are going Ronny will probably get one more crack at the Champions league. At the same time, the overall team will need to be assessed and reinforced.
Right now I’d retain most of our players but some will need to be jettisoned as well. Between now and the end of the season some have a lot to prove whilst for others we want to see more of the same.
Weak in attack and defence, Celtic need to be better balanced than they are. Midfield is our area of strength but frailties front and back interfere with that area of superiority.
One thing we can be certain of is that if the weaker areas are not addressed before next season we can expect the same results. Whether we find strength from within or in the transfer market, this team will need to convince the fans we have improved and not just by saying it.