Celtic boss Deila bids for a pass mark from Legia tie

CELTIC have invited their fans to tell them what they want from the club.

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Celtic boss Ronny Deila lectures Kris Commons during first leg in Warsaw
Celtic boss Ronny Deila lectures Kris Commons during first leg in Warsaw

They might not like the answers.

Supporters were sent the email poll this week as part of a market research exercise.

Its timing - between the Champions League qualifying ties against Legia Warsaw, with the Hoops trailing 4-1 from the first leg - is likely to produce some raw responses.

The pain-fuelled consensus among the Hoops followers is that they want to see their team avoid drubbings like the one they suffered in Poland.

They also want the club's directors to tweak a business plan which has made them increasingly vulnerable to such debilitating results as the best players are allowed to leave and their replacements fail to fill the quality void.

However, as Ronny Deila acknowledges, it is what it is. And for now the new manager has a major fire fight on his hands as he attempts to turn around a vital qualifying tie which is in serious danger of leaving Celtic badly burned.

Deila came out all guns blazing today and said: "We have to go all in now and try to win by three goals.

"I am looking forward to getting revenge."

The former schoolteacher did his homework ahead of the first game in Warsaw. But when it came to the stern examination, he went for the wrong option on too many occasions while his players failed to achieve pass marks. Or many passes at all.

They all get the chance to re-sit the test tomorrow night when they face Legia again, this time in Edinburgh.

But if they felt they were under pressure last week in the noisy Pepsi Arena it will be as nothing compared to what they must overcome this time around at Murryfield.

No Celtic team has ever recovered from a three-goal Euro deficit, although there have been several examples of the Hoops winning their second-leg ties by three goals or more, as they must do to progress to Friday's Champions League play-offs draw.

SINCE the shock of how poorly his side performed in Warsaw, Deila has gone back to the drawing board.

He has analysed what went wrong, re-examined what he has at his disposal to succeed in this recovery mission, and formulated a plan which he hopes will not only be effective but which his players can understand and follow.

"We started very well, controlling the game and the ball," Deila reflected as he grasped some consolation, albeit from just that eight-minute opening spell when Callum McGregor put them in front and raised expectation to what quickly proved to be an unsustainable level.

The new Hoops manager added: "We conceded their first goal very easily. Legia just played through us. After that we started to lose our heads and lose the ball in the centre of the pitch.

"The defence was spread wide and not in control. In some parts of the game we were all over the pitch.

"You get punished hard for that against good teams like Legia Warsaw. It was very disappointing but it is my responsibility now."

That responsibility must be shared by Deila's players and his backroom staff because the horror show in Warsaw was a collective failing, not just down to one man.

Likewise, Celtic's only real hope of retrieving this tie is if they all pull together in the one direction, find their best form - at the back, in the midfield and in front of goal.

The Scottish champions need to prove that last week was truly a blip and not an accurate measure of where this team now stands in terms of European competition.

The Hoops are the seeded side in this qualifying tie, although such gradings mean very little at this early stage of the competition when match fitness can mean more than in-depth quality.

Legia's league season is up and running while Celtic have yet to get their domestic campaign going, even deferring the scheduled start this weekend.

Friendlies can only carry you so far down the road towards preparedness.

THE fall-out from Saturday's shadow team losing 6-1 to Spurs in Helsinki will continue at a level above Deila as Peter Lawwell addresses the complaints of the game's organisers in Finland, who are upset at the lack of recognised Hoops first-team players who participated.

They are threatening to withhold part of the fee but it is chickenfeed compared to what Celtic will miss out on if they now exit the Champions League qualifying race with a lap to go before they can burst into the lucrative group stage.

Deila spent the weekend at the club's Lennoxtown base working on his tactics and line-up for tomorrow's game.

Once again it will not include the injured Scott Brown and James Forrest, both of whom would be huge assets when a positive result is such an imperative.

The absence of suspended Efe Ambose, due to his red card in the first leg, is another handicap. However, given the Nigerian's erratic pre-season form, it may not be too much of a setback.

Deila knows the microscope under which he was already operating has had its magnification increased.

Those still unsure about the manager plucked from Norwegian football to boss the Hoops are waiting to see how he reacts to adversity.

On the surface he remains calm and composed and says he is ready for a searching night against the Poles.

"We still have a chance in the tie because we scored an away goal," Deila told Celtic TV. "We can win 3-0 at Murrayfield. But we have to find the commitment and energy.

"We also need to have a very good and clear match plan so that we look like a team."


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