The Scottish giants crashed out of the Champions League with a 6-1 aggregate defeat to Legia Warsaw and the club's new boss must turn things around quickly or he will be sackedCOMMENT
By Stuart Milne
"We maybe have one good team but the other ones are dragging that team down."
When new Celtic manager Ronny Deila made that comment on Scotland's Uefa coefficient in one of his very first interviews to the press, he set himself up for a fall. Not only did fans of other clubs take an instant dislike to him and want him to fail - regardless of how true the line was - but the expectation levels of the Celtic faithful increased as well.
|DISASTER FOR DEILA
|CELTIC OUT OF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE|
It's not that victory over the Polish champions should have been a gimme for the Bhoys - defeat was always a possibility - but a 6-1 trouncing? Ouch. And what makes it worse is that in the first leg especially, it could - and considering Legia missed two penalties, should - have been a lot worse.
As expected, social media erupted on Wednesday night with the more reactionary members of Celtic Park faithful demanding that the manager be sent packing on the next flight back to Norway. Deila meanwhile, has come out and indirectly blamed his predecessor, Neil Lennon for the club's failure.
Last week, the "gruelling pre-season schedule" Lennon organised got the blame, and last night he has blamed his newly inherited squad for not being good enough for that level of competition, despite the success the former Celtic boss had with them in the recent past.
Even though Celtic fans know that the team badly needs investment, comments like those will not help the Norwegian.
He's been in the job for two months now and in that time has only signed two players - a semi-retired goalkeeper and a flop Norwegian striker from Cardiff who made a terrible first impression in his debut game. The fans are going to ask why that is. Surely he knew they weren't good enough already and he should have made the appropriate changes before it was too late?
And now, with the riches of the Champions League out of their grasp, it looks like some of his prize assets - like Fraser Forster and Virgil van Dijk - might be sold to compensate for that loss of income. All in all, it's not looking great for poor old Ronny.
|TRANSFER TALK: ALL THE LATEST RUMOURS
|7/1||Anthony Stokes is 7/1 with bet365 to be top scorer in the Scottish Premiership|
And even though they are out of the Champions League, they still have a chance of success in the Europa League. Sure, the fans will moan about it now, but if they are still in the competition after New Year, the defeat to Legia will be quietly forgotten about.
Then again, both Scottish football fans and the media have a rather insular view. Because Deila is foreign, comparisons have already been drawn with the former Rangers manager Paul Le Guen, and that just adds more pressure. He really needs to turn things around quickly.
And that's where the other clubs in the SPFL Premiership need to sit up and take notice.
Celtic right now are a wounded animal, and their displays over the last eight days have shown that they are far from solid - especially at the back. They will win the league again but that's not to say they can't be got at. It's time for the rest of Scotland to attack Celtic, to believe they can be beaten.
As for Deila, it's been said that he's the sort of manager who works best when developing and nurturing young talent. On paper, that's exactly what Celtic need.
Their business model should be one of bringing through either their own players or young talent from abroad, and then selling them on to bigger sides for massive profit. Unfortunately for Deila, what works in theory doesn't always work in practice.
Celtic are a club whose fans have short-term expectations. The most important game is the next game, and an Old Firm manager is always said to be two or three losses away from the sack.
If he doesn't sort out the short-term now, fan pressure may mean he doesn't have time to implement the changes he needs to make. The clock is ticking for Deila to get it right - his job depends on it.