Ronny Deila has been up against it at Celtic since the very beginning. The “Aye, but who is he?” brigade have been breathing down his neck since he took over the post in May 2014. I’m not just speaking about the media here but our fans. There was a short period of respite towards the end of last season when some begrudgingly gave the Norwegian kudos for his exploits in the league and cup competitions. Celtic were after all a very contentious decision away from winning a treble.
Celtic now find themselves looking down the barrel of a European exit for the second time this season, and again the manager is lambasted by the media and support. Yes, Ronny has to take some of the heat for Celtic’s failings since taking over but if people think a change in manager will magically improve our European pedigree need to have a word with themselves. Celtic’s failings in Europe started a long time ago before Ronny took over. People talk about the night we beat Barcelona, which was only three short years ago. What happened to that team that beat Barca that famous night? It was sold off in fits and bursts till your left with a shell. Forster and Wanyama sold to Southampton; Samaras and Ledley treated like second class citizens till they were pushed out the door. The players who started that night at Celtic Park still at the club are Mulgrew, Ambrose, Lustig and Commons. I’m sure most Celtic fans would swap out some of the latter for the players mentioned above. My point being that Celtic as a club are not able to see sustainable growth in Europe as a result of our circumstance. Yes, we will have our famous nights but we won’t have a sustained period of any sort of dominance on the European stage because we are a selling club at the end of the day – this is nothing to do with the manager. We sell out of necessity and the fact players like Wanyama, van Dijk, and even Gary Hooper use the club as a stepping stone to the promise land of the EPL.
I’m sure I will have gained a few sniggers by now, and someone will be screaming “Aye, but we should be beating Molde!”, I agree! We should. Just like our big nights, however, the lows are just as inevitable. While it’s disappointing to see Celtic struggle against opposition that we would have flattened in the days of O’Neill and even Strachan, we must put everything into perspective. Whether it have been Ronny Deila, Malky McKay, Henrik Larsson, Davie Moyes or Roy Keane in charge of the team the past two years that we would by no means be world beaters.
The expectation at Celtic is so extraordinarily high that every manager is doomed to one day fail no matter how well they’ve done for the club. Gordon Strachan won three titles on the trot then was booted out the door when he didn’t win the 4th, and that title went down to the last day. That year, lack of investment lost us that particular title, not Gordon Strachan. If we turn into every other football club who demand everyone from the manager down to the tea lady are sacked when we hit the rocks then I despair.
Ronny has a long-term vision for the club and has admitted he’s in it for the long haul, as long as the players he has are fighting for him and the domestic success is there where is the need to get rid. Ronny’s third full season in Stromgodset heralded some great times for his former club, the previous years of planning bearing fruit for the young manager. He can do the same at Celtic, but the pressure he will be feeling to succeed may hamper the progress. He should stay the course, and if at the end of the season he is sacked, he can hold his head up high that he did it his way.
The manager deserves our backing, not fans speculating on who is taking his job while he’s still in the hot-seat. Give him some respect and back him and his bhoy’s going forward!