Deila caught up in Celtic spin cycle

MANAGERS and players of Celtic and Rangers often describe their unique existence as like living in a goldfish bowl.

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New Celtic boss Deila has found it hard to get used to being the centre of attention
New Celtic boss Deila has found it hard to get used to being the centre of attention

Ronny Deila reckons his experience is more akin to being in a washing machine.

Certainly, since the genial Norwegian pressed the start button on his time in charge of the Hoops, he has been in a spin.

And, after the Champions League qualifier defeats by Legia Warsaw, there was a fear he was in danger of being hung out to dry.

But the man who, after receiving their blessing to succeed Neil Lennon, left his twin daughters behind with his estranged wife in Norway is now coming to terms with his new life as a main figure in the Celtic family.

And today, when he leads out his side at Celtic Park to receive last season's league flag then face Dundee United, he will be made to feel very much at home.

It's a moment Deila has longed for since he got the Hoops job on June 6.

The secondment of the stadium for the opening of the Commonwealth Games delayed his team's return to their own dear, green place until now.

Deila purposely chose not to even visit the stadium and explore the facilities he will call his workplace until three days ago.

Prior to that, he had only been inside Celtic Park twice to see Lennon's team take on Barcelona in the Champions League last season and again for his unveiling as manager.

Today the Norwegian will finally "move in". And his excitement is evident.

Deila said: "For me, there have been a lot of new experiences this summer.

"I have come to a new country, a new language, a new city.

"I have a new staff and new players and I've had to cope with all of that.

"Everywhere I go is a new place. Even going to our own stadium and playing in front of 60,000 people.

"These things are what you have to prepare for in your mind, to be ready for them. At times it's like nothing you have ever experienced. Other times it's like "no problem", and you don't think about it.

"It's the same for the new players who come here.

"It's not easy for them to just come in to this club and perform well straight away.

"They have to feel they are safe and familiar and know the situation and what is around them."

Deila was in the spotlight this week as he took his new Hoops team to McDiarmid Park for their first SPFL Premiership match of the season, which they won 3-0.

Then he learned the club's Champions League hopes were still alive after Uefa threw out Legia's appeal against the disciplinary decision that sends Celtic to Slovenia next Wednesday to face Maribor in the first leg of the play-offs.

HAVING spent his playing and management career in Norway, where ice hockey and handball almost equal football for popularity, Deila has found the culture shock of becoming the focus of so much attention as tough to handle as the magnitude of the job itself.

"The people here are unbelievably interested in football," said the former schoolteacher.

"But they are very warm, very open and genuine.

"Celtic supporters are like a family. It's like you're born to be a Celtic supporter. It really means something and it's huge for me to see that."

Deila's eyes have been opened in places like Perth, Reykjavik, Edinburgh and Warsaw as he has witnessed the incredible backing the club gets.

Today his amazement will be lifted to another level as he takes his place in the technical area at Celtic Park

"This will be huge for me, unbelievable," he explained. "You feel the expectations, of course, and you just want to make these people happy.

"It's my dream to play fantastic football against good teams in a full stadium.

"Money is nothing compared to that dream.

"Trophies are nothing compared to that. It is the ultimate experience and is what I have in my mind."

Those images have helped to sustain Deila in what has been a testing first couple of months in the job.

"There have been some tough weeks," he admitted. "But you feel you are living and learning.

"You can sit in automatic mode and do everything in remote control.

"But now I have to push myself to new limits.

"I know that I can cope with it. It's been hard but everything is okay.

"Everywhere I go here, it's new to me. Every person I meet, they're new.

"I need to get a routine, then find holes to relax in.

"I don't want to find I'm just spinning around in the washing machine.

"You have to come out of it sometimes to reflect.

"If you are a leader, you need to reflect. You need time by yourself to see the next step, and you always have to be a step ahead.

"It's been hard. But, over time, it will become easier."

Deila's first couple of months in Glasgow have been lit up by the warmth of the welcome he has received.

Even if sometimes that welcome has been a bit too warm, as one impromptu visit to a pub proved.

"Three weeks ago I was waiting for a taxi to go home and decided to go into the nearest pub to get a beer," he revealed with a smile.

"Of course, I now realise that I shouldn't do that.

"Everyone was very polite. I was there for 15 minutes and everyone was very friendly, but it was too much.

"People wanted to talk to me about Celtic and have their picture taken with me. It's fantastic that everyone's been so positive. Nothing has been negative.

"People tell me they want me to succeed. The Celtic supporters I've met have been amazing."

RUNNING and discovering anew his love for golf is helping Deila to escape from the madding crowd and fill in the time he might otherwise have spent with his 14-year-old daughters, Thale and Live.

"I'm single now and my children wanted to stay in Norway," he explained.

"It's been the hardest thing about coming here. When you do this job, you sacrifice everything.

"They wanted me to do this, though, and I couldn't say no to them. They knew that I would regret it for the rest of my life if I turned this down.

"Ask any big manager if they have made sacrifices and they'll all say yes.

"This is not a job, it's a lifestyle. It's 24 hours a day, thinking all the time.

"You can say you're going home, but you're always doing the job, thinking about it. It has to be that way.

"I asked my kids what they thought about me coming here. I asked them if it was okay with them.

"They saw in my face, though, that they couldn't say no. I think I manipulated them pretty well.

"But they're proud of me, and I can see that. They are very active, playing handball and football, too.

"Their mother is fantastic with them as well, so I know they will be having a good time in Norway."

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