Evolution not revolution for Celtic boss Deila

IT'S not quite seventh heaven.

Loading Comments
Share
Print
Ronny Deila was happy to see work on set-plays pay off against KR Reykjavik
Ronny Deila was happy to see work on set-plays pay off against KR Reykjavik

But after safely negotiating five friendlies and two Champions League qualifiers, Ronny Deila has at least bought himself a little breathing space.

When he took over from Neil Lennon, the Norwegian knew his first objective was to hit the ground running with a squad he had to quickly assess.

The 5-0 aggregate victory over KR Reykjavik confirms it is mission accomplished, and Deila can now move on to target No.2, beating Polish side Legia Warsaw and winning a place in the play-off round for the group stage of Europe's premier competition.

If he can achieve that, the focus can switch to longer-term objectives, in particular, adding the quality Deila has already identified is required to get his side to the level he aspires to reach with them.

The high-tempo football being developed on the pitch is not being matched by activity in the transfer market, with only Craig Gordon added to the squad.

It's an unusual scenario when a new manager takes over as, more often than not, the change at the top heralds significant activity, both in and out, as the new man makes his mark.

In Lennon's first transfer window, more than an entire team came in, passing another on the way out, though that was an extreme instance,

reflecting the turmoil which Tony Mowbray had created during his 10 months at the helm prior to Lennon being asked to right the badly-listing ship.

The squad Deila inherited was much better, more established, and had three championships and a Champions League last-16 place on its CV.

So major surgery was never on the cards.

Given that Deila is also known for his penchant for developing young players, and with a clutch of talented kids already waiting to work with him - Callum McGregor and Liam Henderson just two who have excited the new boss -there was never going to be a rush to buy.

That might not please every Hoops fan, many still labouring under the misapprehension Celtic's Champions League involvement and pay days, allied to the income from sales of stars such as Victor Wanyama and Gary Hooper, make them significant players in the marketplace.

But the reality - and one which Deila embraced before he accepted the invitation to become boss - is that the absence of the income from regular meetings with Rangers means money derived from elsewhere is essential just to keep the club on an even keel, with some provision for future rainy days.

So prudence will continue to underpin all Celtic's activities in the transfer market, a policy Deila will not challenge.

This is not a strategy which will endure forever, of course.

But having seen off KR Reykjavik with the ease the disparity in their co-efficient rankings suggested should be the case, Deila can see no reason to veer from the agreed course at this point.

They should also have enough in their locker to get past Legia Warsaw without recourse to any impulse buying.

And, with typical Scandinavian cool, the former schoolteacher confirmed he will

continue to do his homework on players they are identifying as potential recruits.

Deila said: "The club wants to invest in new players, and we need that.

"But we need the right players, so it is important not to lose our head and just go for something. It has to be good for us. But we are working hard to get it."

If results keep going the right way, the supporters will be prepared to accept this approach.

But if they hit trouble, it will be a different story, and accusations of Deila being the cheap option when Roy Keane and others had been in the frame for the job will resurface.

Another accelerant which could quickly ignite these smouldering embers is the threat of another big-name player being sold.

Fraser Forster is the name in the frame at the moment, with Southampton first to test the waters with what the Hoops have been quick to dismiss as a derisory offer.

There could be a suspicion that the speed with which news of Celtic's rejection

became public indicated they wanted to smoke out other interested parties.

But that does not sit easily with Deila's reaction when quizzed about the failed bid, the manager making it clear he wants his keeper to stay and be part of what he is starting to build at the club.

Backed by the fact former Scotland keeper Gordon is already on board, it would have been easy for the manager to simply take refuge behind the response that Celtic's business plan is to buy potential, develop it and sell for a healthy profit.

Forster would be the latest to tick all of these boxes.

But whatever else we have found out about Deila in his relatively-short time in charge, we know he is singled-minded in his determination to achieve what he sets out to do.

And, in the case of Celtic, that's build a side playing the kind of football which brings success, not only consistently, but to a high level.

To make this happen, he needs quality players, and Forster - along with another target, Virgil van Dijk - currently represents the best of that at the club.

Like others before him, however, he will have to accept that sometimes being manager does not always mean you have the final say, frustrating though that can be.

So Deila's energies will be directed mainly at working with the players he has, and continuing the search for the ones he hopes can make his team even better.

He is proving a hard man to please, when it comes to performances, and Tuesday's night's stroll to victory in the Edinburgh sunshine was no different.

The whirlwind start blew KR away, allowing the Hoops to go in at the break three goals up and already through to the next round.

But a game lasts at least 90 minutes, and the manager reiterated he wants every one of them used to the max.

Before he flew to Dublin to take in last night's game between St Pat's and Legia, Deila reflected: "In the second half we were a little bit sloppy.

"We should have kept up the tempo so we could win by more. But I have to be happy with 4-0."

One of the most pleasing aspects was the fact the first two goals - both scored by Van Dijk - came from corners, and Deila explained: "We've been talking about set-plays a lot in the past two weeks, and we got a result through that."

Football

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on Evening Times on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

172923

Have you got a story?

Contact the news desk on 0141 302 6520 or email news@eveningtimes.co.uk
A weekly round up of social highlights

A weekly round up of social highlights

Cat's Eyes on Glasgow

Meet Charlie the referendum rooster who decided the result in his own unique way

Times Out

Entertainment

Lifestyle

TV Advert
Gail’s Gab

Gail’s Gab

Gail Sheridan is a mother-of-one and wife to Tommy and she likes to get political with the hot topic of the week in her column Gail’s Gab.

Michelle McManus

Michelle McManus

Sussed in the City

Whatever the result, the fans are Still Game

Janice Bell

Janice Bell

You couldn’t make up half the stuff that happens to PA Janice Bell- some of the jams she gets herself into are worth a story or two.