For a long time now, many Celtic fans have been of the opinion that Ronny Deila is not the man for Celtic. Since his tenure began on June 6th 2014, I looked forward to seeing how this left field and bold appointment by Celtic Football Club turned out.
Differences among the supporters remain on several matters. Some of these I have defended in my blog for almost two years now.
In season one the club experienced mediocrity in Europe but found domestic success in the second half of the same season. That led many, if not all, to believe that the following season, the one we are currently in, would see progress.
Unfortunately we have seen Celtic regress in Europe. Another opportunity at the Champions League gone and an even more disappointing Europa League campaign in its place.
To compound that misery further, Celtic have failed to make an impact in the second half of the current domestic season. Last season a belief was found among the ranks and it was a relatively positive finish to bring home a domestic double, only narrowly missing out on a treble.
When preparations were under way for the current season we expected to see that little bit more but we haven’t. What we have seen is a lack of belief, conviction, motivation, commitment, impetus and more importantly a squad not playing anywhere near their best.
Europe was a disaster this season and given the lesser of two European tournaments, should have seen Celtic do much better. As it was it was an abysmal exhibition.
Throughout the season, I like to think I call things as I see them. I generally apply some perspective, the conditions at that moment in time and make a judgement based upon that.
Be it injuries, suspensions, poor decisions or just bad luck, I say what I see. I wouldn’t say I have gone out of my way to defend Ronny Deila or the club, just how I see it and without the knee-jerk reaction that I find appalling.
What we have all been seeing recently in this key stage of the current season has been far from convincing. Some will say “I told you so” or “this is what I’ve been saying all along”.
I like to think I’m a patient guy though and that Ronny has deserved time. From the beginning I saw Deila’s appointment as a brave move but I liked that.
As a character I liked his approach, grasp of the language and calm demeanour. Over time that has become eroded by performances, results, supporter opinion and of course the Scottish media.
Celtic had a bit of a purple patch in January. That came to a halt in the League Cup against Ross County in the last game of that month.
That was followed by a defeat away to title challengers Aberdeen a few days later. Since then performances have been well below par.
Three victories and two draws might not seem that bad, but when their is much at stake (and there is), Celtic must be doing better. At the very least, they need to be doing it in a more convincing fashion.
Of course, that is where the problem lies. It has been far from convincing by the Hoops this season.
Fan pressure aside, we haven’t seen the correct response from the players. When the chips are down and you get a bad result you want to see a reaction but it hasn’t happened this season at all.
Even if Celtic have cut their cloth to suit the environment they operate in, it hasn’t been impressive. In contrast, I was actually quite pleased with the activity in the January transfer window.
Erik Sviatchencko may turn out to be a decent acquisition. Colin Kazim-Richards could well be a diamond in the rough.
Something tells me though that Ronny Deila may never get to see that come to fruition under his management. The season is far from over and a domestic double remains in Celtic’s hands.
At Celtic Park last night though, it was a bitter blow to the club’s current campaign and far from what the fans expect. You can only defend matters so long and with matches like this becoming the norm, it becomes increasingly hard to defend the current set up.