Davie Hay: Ronny must be ready for a whole new ball game at Celtic

IT WILL all be a walk into the unknown for Ronny Deila as he gets to grips with his new job as Celtic manager.

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Blue sky thinking ... Celtic have gone for an unknown quantity in new boss Ronny Deila
Blue sky thinking ... Celtic have gone for an unknown quantity in new boss Ronny Deila

But what Neil Lennon's successor will already have discovered is that this is a whole new ball game from the one he has left behind in Norway.

The scrutiny is so much more intense, the support so much more passionate, and, most important of all, the expectation so much higher.

Compared to Stromsgodset, it's off the scale.

I know the little place, Drammen, where they have their ground. It's just outside Oslo, beside the old airport.

Ronny did exceptionally well to get a club of that size and with that limited budget to the top of the league in Norway, and into the Champions League qualifiers.

But the big difference is that Stromsgodset will be happy to be involved in these games, which start next month.

For Celtic they are vital, and they must get through to the group stage of the Champions League.

At worst they have to remain in Europe, even if it is in the Europa League, although the money to be earned there will have nothing like the impact on Celtic's turnover that involvement in the Champions League guarantees.

So the expectation - and demands - will be high right from the start for Ronny.

He appears to be an intelligent guy, who has done very well in his coaching career.

But has that truly prepared him for this job? We will find out very soon.

The most important games of Celtic's season will be the first he has to guide them through.

Fortunately, the group of players he is inheriting from Neil have a lot of experience of negotiating these very tricky hurdles.

But none of them will need any reminding how close they came to elimination last year when they came up against Shakhter Karagandy.

Ronny will have only a few weeks in training to assess the players, and see who he wants to put into the system he likes to play - or, indeed, if they can play in this system.

It is all very well having a set style. But if you don't have the men who are comfortable and capable in those positions it simply won't happen and you have to find either a new system - or new players.

That might mean some movement in and out, even more than most of us had already identified was necessary under the previous manager.

But Ronny will want to have a good look at what he has first, and will have studied lots of DVDs of previous games.

I reckon he will like what he sees, although I am not sure he will be able to do much with the likes of Amido Balde or Teemu Pukki.

He might ask the coaching staff members still at the club, including guys like John Kennedy and Stevie Frail, what they think of the squad.

But, ultimately, it will be down to Ronny because it will be his team that have to do the business.

When I took over at Lillestrom in Norway, I had two full months before the season started to make my mind up about the squad, their quality and character.

Ronny does not have anything like that time and will have to hit the ground running with them.

As something of an unknown manager - I'll be honest, I didn't know much about him before he became linked to Celtic - people will make up their minds about him within those first few games.

That may be unfair, such a rush to judgment, but it is the nature of football these days.

Suddenly we have been told he is one of the best young coaches in Europe. Whether or not that's just good PR by someone trying to counter the fact he is not as big a name as those previously tipped to take the job, including Henrik Larsson and Roy Keane, I don't know.

But any reputation can be dismantled by a couple of early bad results, so I hope he can get the wins he needs.

If not, the accusations he is just a cheap appointment will be chucked about.

The Celtic fans can be a big positive to any manager - but only if their team are performing the way they should be and winning.

Good luck, Ronny.


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