Like many Celtic fans I know and spoke to at the the time, I wanted a big name. But big names come at a cost. Were Celtic prepared to pay top dollar?
Unless you have an encyclopaedic knowledge of European football, you would think that Celtic has taken on an unknown.
Without sounding too conceited; Celtic should again win the league at a stroll, whoever the new manager at the helm is.
Deila is highly regarded in Norway and is known as “Super Ronny”. He is renowned for his attacking football philosophy, which I pray that the Celtic squad learns from and adapts.
We need a different style. Neil Lennon was a great coach, but there were times when we looked turgid. I want to see a cavalier approach again at Celtic Park with fast, free-flowing football, the kind of approach that has always defined our club.
There were times last season when Celtic were absolutely untouchable and at others unwatchable. If what I’m reading about Deila’s approach comes into fruition I believe we’re in for a cracking season. I am genuinely looking forward to a different brand of football, that is if what is being said by the man himself and what the players are telling the media is true.
The hierarchy at Celtic will certainly have done their homework on the 38-year-old, who has taken on the biggest job in Scotland at a “young” age. Neil Lennon did too, with little experience, and I’d gauge his time at the helm as success, contrary to media reports.
To his enormous credit, Deila transformed Stromsgodset from whipping boys to Champions League qualifying contenders. He likes to combine youth with experience and the cries from the stands last season was to give youth a chance.
Deila insists his teams have an attacking style of play, built around pace and sharp passing, with a favoured 4-3-3 formation.
If we qualify for the Group Stages of the Champions League this season I’d be a little wary of playing that type of formation against Europe’s eilte. In saying that, Deila’s mission to improve himself means he’s already visited a good few of the these clubs to learn about their training methods and formations. He appears to be thoroughly diligent.
The big question for me is, what do I expect the new manager to achieve? How much do we ask of him in his first season?
We need to see four-in-row completed – an absolute given. Anything other than that would be an epochal disaster. Alongside that we need at least one of the cup’s and, for me, preferably the Scottish Cup.
Lennon was oft times castigated in the press for his Cup record and if Deila doesn’t win one, I’m damned sure the knives will be out.
But that comes with the territory of being Celtic boss.
With Craig Gordon the only signing thus far, the board must also back the manager and allow him to bring in some fresh talent. He’s trying and testing what we have and the nucleus of a good squad is still there. It’s fairly obvious that Forster will be plying his trade elsewhere and Virgil Van Dijk may well be on his way to pastures new, and I’m sure many others feel likewise.
The season begins in earnest tomorrow against KR Reykjavik in the Champions League qualifier. This, of course, is Deila’s first competitive game. His first test. You can dress friendlies up as much as you like – this is the real deal. These ties fill me with trepidation and they probably shouldn’t – but the cliché of “banana skin” is always banded about before such ties. The majority of this team have European experience and it will come down to fitness and more importantly match fitness and this will carry Celtic through.
If we can get through to the Group Stages it would be a tremendous achievement for the new gaffer in his first season.
The expectations may not be as high but it would hard to take if we’re not dining at the same table as Europe’s big guns.
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