Ronny Deila will be looking for a change in fortunes in 2016. From one end of 2015 to the other, his Celtic have team regressed.
Recent attempts to move forward in the league have been thwarted by injuries, postponements and draws. These are the setbacks that managers must deal with though and despite all that, Celtic remain top of the league with a 3 point advantage and a game at hand.
Ronny has stood up to the criticism and responded to the heckling from the crowd and the media. It’s a job that comes with pressure but he has yet to fold in front of the cameras.
Whilst support may be waning from some quarters, the manager remains focused on making things happen. However, at Celtic Park yesterday there was little sign of this as Celtic were once more looking devoid of ideas as they took on Partick Thistle in the New Year Glasgow derby.
Home advantage should have been capitalised upon, particularly with a long injury list. As it was, Celtic made sluggish attempts to create anything on the park.
Aside from some isolated moments in a few matches, Celtic have been lackadaisical this season. So to get things moving in 2016 a bit of luck was required.
In a game where Partick Thistle showed more enthusiasm and better passing, Celtic required some important saves from Craig Gordon and a moment of brilliance by Leigh Griffiths to overcome this dire encounter. They were also hindered by the inept refereeing of Stephen Finnie who, as well as waiving away penalty claims, sent off Nir Bitton for a very soft second yellow.
Despite the misfortune with the match official, ten men managed to steal the match on the 90th minute. This was very far from the entertaining game we saw at Tynecastle or even the kind of game we were hoping to see from Ronny Deila this season but against all odds, Celtic got the victory they needed.
To be fair to Thistle, they played their game well and were unlucky not to get the draw. On the flip side, Celtic were diabolical but never gave up.
If you want to win titles and trophies these are the kind of results you need. I’ve seen Celtic teams over the years do this when it really mattered but the question remains are this team worthy of a treble?
This result should be used as a marker for the rest of the campaign. It was fitting that the goal should come courtesy of Celtic’s best player.
Leigh Griffiths, one of Celtic’s many injured players of late, was a half time replacement for the ever so frustrating Nadir Çiftç. His energy has been missed and although he is still developing as a player, this Celtic side are lost without him.
There are a number of underperforming players in this side but he is not one of them. Celtic don’t just need all their players available, they need them to be doing their job.
Had Ronny not won this match, I wonder what the aftermath would have been like. It is clear that this team needs an injection of some kind to get them through the rest of the season because I’m not sure of their ability to get results.
Nothing is guaranteed for Celtic or Ronny Deila this season. I would forget about planning for the summer and concentrate fully upon January buys and doing everything possible to bring this treble to Celtic Park.