Davie Hay: Ronny's eye opener as Celtic Euro tie approaches

RONNY DEILA has been the Celtic manager for 35 days.

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Scott Brown and John Collins share a joke at training
Scott Brown and John Collins share a joke at training

But, he has yet to truly discover what it means to have become the 17th man to hold this job.

Only when he sends his side out for their first competitive game on Tuesday in Reykjavik will he begin to realise what it is to be in charge of this world-famous club.

Even at that, it will not be until he comes down the tunnel for the start of his first game at Celtic Park that the enormity of the job will hit him.

That will intensify even more when the first big European night at the ground - hopefully, the play-off for the Champions League in late August - comes around.

I am sure John Collins has been doing his best to tell Ronny what awaits him, having taken part in many big occasions at the Park when he was a player.

But, it is not until you are actually standing in that dug out yourself, taking it all in, that you begin to understand what it means to be the boss.

It is one thing to be taking training at Lennoxtown, meeting a few fans in the street and leading the squad to Austria for their pre-season training camp.

Ronny has watched his players take part in three friendlies so far, and has had his say about what he has pleased him - and what has not - as they've won two and drawn the other.

The final match of this build up takes place tonight against Dukla Prague, and I expect we will get some inkling of the line-up Ronny plans to use against KR Reykjavik on Tuesday.

But while the opening game of their Champions League qualifiers is important, as will be the return leg at Murrayfield the following week, they will only give Ronny a hint of how big a job he has taken on.

Believe me, it is like nothing he has ever experienced because it truly is a unique position, with no shortage of pressure every day.

With the final qualifying round home game also being played at Murrayfield while Celtic Park is converted back from its Commonwealth Games makeover, his introduction to life at his new home is being delayed.

I hope he is ready for it, and that he can safely steer his side through the early games of the season, especially these crucial qualifiers and play-offs.

While most of us have been focusing on the culmination of the World Cup in Brazil, Ronny has been cosseted away with his squad, trying to keep their minds on building up their fitness and being in the best possible condition for the games against KR Reykjavik.

This is your typical banana skin tie for Celtic, against a side they should beat easily, but who are already well into their season.

That's why it will be down to their mind set rather than their ability to get them safely through.

Last season, Celtic faced Cliftonville at this stage and got through easily.

But the champions of Northern Ireland were also coming into the games from a standing start, as their season had not begun.

It's going to be more difficult against KR Reykjavik because they have been playing competitively for months.

And remember, Icelandic football is enjoying a renaissance, with their national team reaching the play-offs for the World Cup. So, it is down to the Celtic players to impose themselves.

And while the temptation will be to try and impress the new manager, it is much more important they play as a team and ensure they get the job done.

Preferably, Celtic will win to ease any nerves which might be created by having to play their 'home leg' in Edinburgh.

The fact they have been scoring goals in their pre-season games will help the mood.

This schedule was drawn up before Ronny got the job, and he has had to adapt to it as much as the players have.

He might have preferred more time on the training field. But you need games to raise the match-sharpness as high as you can, and it will rise again after tonight and again on Tuesday.

The downside of playing matches is you always run the risk of injury. But players can suffer tears or pulls in training just as easily. Losing Scott Brown for up to three months with a hamstring tear is a huge blow.

He might not be everyone's idea of a Celtic captain. But no-one can argue Scott is highly-influential among the players.

Team-mates look to him when things are not going well, and there are not many others in the team who carry such responsibility and respect.

It's like Brazil losing Thiago Silva. They were all worried they'd miss Neymar, but it was the absence of the captain that saw them fall apart.

Now, I am not suggesting Celtic will suffer such a catastrophic collapse in Iceland.

But those who are fit to play have got to accept an extra degree of responsibility on the night and ensure they do not give KR Reykjavik any foothold in the game - or the new boss any first-night nerves.

I can't emphasise enough that Ronny is about to have his eyes opened, maybe not completely on Tuesday, but when he finally gets back to Celtic Park.

Embrace it. Enjoy it. But, above all, be ready for it.

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