An interesting rumour has appeared in regards to the Celtic managers’ role this past week with The Daily Record noticing that bookmakers have slashed the odds in favour of David Moyes becoming the next Celtic manager.
While the likelihood of Moyes becoming manager anytime soon is minimal, it is interesting to see how Ronny Deila will respond to the pressure and criticism from some former Celtic players and pundits.
Of course there are those within the club that are rallying behind Deila; especially assistant manager John Collins who said (according to The Scotsman) that he thinks the criticism of his boss “is unfair, of course, because when he gets criticised, I get criticised, because we’re a team.”
Ex-captain Paul Lambert has also defended the Norwegian boss as he said to BBC Scotland: “I think he’s done a great job with what he’s got to go with but it takes a special player to play with Rangers or Celtic.”
But has he done a great job? Sure, he did the double in his first season and reached the Scottish FA Cup semi-final too which, even for Celtic, is a difficult challenge. Yet it is not like his side have looked absolutely dominant in the Premiership, especially with the back-to-back disappointing starts.
And then there is Europe – failure to beat Ajax and Fenerbahce means their run in the Europa League will be stopped earlier than the fans would have hoped for. They have failed to reach the Champions League group stages in successive seasons too and one wonders how long Deila can keep dodging the European bullet.
Ex-Scotland international and talkSPORT presenter Alan Brazil gave an interesting comparison recently by stating that Rangers manager Mark Warbuton was doing a far better job than Ronny Deila. While some die-hard loyal fans will dismiss this particular comment as nonsense, some fans might wish to observe Brazil’s criticism.
Rangers have dominated the Scottish Championship from day one this season despite having one of the most unstable off-the-pitch environments in British football. It takes a great coach to keep a team calm and successful through some rocky patches. By comparison, Deila has managed to get Celtic back on top once again, but not in a dominant fashion like his Old Firm counterpart. The bottom line is that both teams should be destroying the competition around them in their respective leagues, but Celtic are not achieving that (although the Scottish Premiership is definitely more challenging.)
On the other hand, to simply lay the blame on Delia for Celtic’s lack of dominance, would be quite simply lazy criticism. There are various reasons as to why the Norwegian boss is feeling the strain and some of that comes down to the resources he has available.
Celtic’s defensive woes continue on due to the fact that they are unable to find replacements for Virgil van Dijk and Jason Denayer; current centre-backs Dedryck Boyata, Efe Ambrose, Tyler Blackett and Jozo Simunovic have yet to leave their mark.
Moreover, Celtic cannot mould to Deila’s ideal for the club. Deila would ultimately like to give the youngsters a try and see if they can build a team from the youth level. Yet ideals and reality rarely go hand-in-hand and the demand for dominance will mean that many young players will not have enough time to prove themselves at the top level. Therefore, Deila is forced into a situation of playing experience over youth in order to get short-term gain over long-term gain. Maybe, just maybe, dominance should not be expected by certain sections of the media.
To quote Paul Lambert: “I’ll guarantee you, if a young player is not good enough and (a manager’s) job is at stake, he is not going to play him.” He should know since his young Aston Villa side never really achieved anything much.
So, is removing Deila from his post the right idea? And to replace him with David Moyes? The answer is not right now. Deila still needs more time to develop and mould Celtic into what he envisages for the club. However, if this comes at the price of failing to make the Champions League group stage for the third year in a row, that is when the hierarchy should consider approaching a more experienced manager.
And would Moyes make that much of a difference? He certainly knows the club very well and has stated before that he would love to manage Celtic, but after successive failures with Manchester United and Real Sociedad, one would have to question his reputation and ask, is he worth it? Probably not. With the lack of resources and talent at his disposal, the difference of hiring Moyes to replace Deila would probably be marginal at best.