Today, the Deila bus will make its final stop. It has been a two-year journey with mixed success.
On the one hand there has been a League Cup and two League titles, the second of which will be presented today at Celtic Park. The overriding factor is of course the lack of progress this season and in particular, in Europe.
To win support from the majority you will be measured by your efforts in Europe. It is a money spinner for the club and an essential part of the season for the support.
Last season things turned around as Christmas approached. There was also a decent inning in the Europa League to speak of.
This season the football has been dire and many, many players have let themselves and the club down on the park. Having said that, there have been a handful of players who have turned in a fine season.
To progress and succeed though, you need you whole team doing it and they haven’t as a collective. Too many areas on the field of play have been an empty jersey.
A hollow central defence has only recently seen any stability thanks to the January signing of Erik Sviatchenko. By then Europe was already a distant memory but he did make things look more assured at the back.
He is captain material and so long as he has the right partner next season things should start to stabilise at the back. Hopefully an injury free Jozo Šimunović can restart his Celtic career next season alongside him.
At left back Kieran Tierney has been a joy to watch. For his age and experience he has done remarkably well and his presence in the team has been a breath of fresh air.
His attitude is perfect and should mature into a fine player. He has the classic full back style and it is good to know that left-back berth is in good hands with the expected departure of Emilio Izaguirre in the summer.
In the midfield, it has been one of Celtic’s worst seasons for a while. I don’t dare to mention Nir Bitton (who I don’t think has done as bad as some make out this season) but Tom Rogic certainly deserves some recognition.
At one stage his Celtic career looked to be in jeopardy. Having sustained injury and a loan spell back in his homeland he made it back to Celtic and in to the first team.
Not many Celtic players manage that and to his credit, he made his mark when given the chance. He displaced Stefan Johansen in the midfield attack role that the Norwegian made his own last season and was rightly awarded for.
The only thing Rogic may have been missing this season were more starts. He came off the bench and missed some games but I there were games where he wasn’t picked when I think we needed him.
Still, he got goal of the season award for all of his efforts. And in all honesty, there were some great goals from him this season.
Callum McGregor has proved that his efforts from early last season were not a one-off. Since his return from injury he has made another impact on the team.
He is versatile and has an eye for goal. Much as he may not be player of the season, his efforts have not gone unnoticed.
On the subject of goals, Leigh Griffiths has been a lone striker all season. I personally wasn’t sure whether he had the ability in Europe but he still managed to score 4 times in 11 appearances.
The most impressive part of his season is of course reaching the 40 goal mark. Never since the days of Henrik Larsson has this ever been achieved by a Celtic player and Griffiths becomes only the 8th Celt ever to do so.
It is fine company and he has earned it. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, Leigh Griffiths has proven me wrong.
I was sceptical about his transfer to Celtic and his off the field behaviour. If Ronny has anything to be proud of it is his work with Griffiths.
A late addition to the plaudits for this season is Patrick Roberts. Signed on an 18 month loan deal from Manchester City, he has scored 5 goals in 12 games.
Today, he could well add to that tally as Celtic host Motherwell. With Griffiths suspended Colin Kazim-Richards will step into the strikers role but the goals could well come from the winger rather than the seldom seen striker.
So to Ronny Deila and his final appearance in the dug out. For many he should have gone long before now but I don’t agree.
Yes, we lost out in two cup semi-finals but changes before then would not have guaranteed anything better. He was entitled to finish the season and I am glad he has.
This way, he gets to say goodbye in his own way rather than being pushed out the door mid-season with failure rubber stamped on his CV. He can lift the Scottish Premiership trophy for the second successive time and walk away respectfully.
I liked the guy. I liked him a lot.
Perhaps the job was too big for him. Maybe he didn’t impose himself enough earlier as he mentioned in the media.
Life is about making mistakes and learning from them. To say Ronny was a failure would be wrong.
It was an experiment and one that I backed. We now know what we must do in the aftermath of this venture.
There is a decent team at Celtic right now. The next man needs to get the best out of them and move on those who don’t fit the bill.
Today we may be seeing some Celtic players for the last time in the Hoops. Let’s celebrate Five-In-Row with a Ronny Roar and a farewell to those departing after today’s celebrations.
Here’s to the future.
Hail! Hail! Ronny and all the best.