Ronny Deila gamble paying off after Celtic’s domestic dominance
Arriving at Celtic Park last summer, after successfully guiding Norwegian club Stromsgodset to their first league title in 43 years, Ronny Deila was still widely unknown, even to his new squad of players who were reigning Scottish champions.
After silverware success, though, the Hoops hierarchy’s faith in their new man at the helm has been rewarded, and the Bhoys will be turning attentions to toppling Aberdeen, who were their closest Scottish Premiership challengers this term (23/10 with Coral to win).
The extremely driven coach took over at the Norwegian outfit in the summer of 2008 and, despite struggling against a possible relegation early on, he continued to stick by his philosophy of attacking football and it began to bear fruit as they climbed higher each season, before a historic title triumph in 2013.
These successful long-term efforts to reinvent this former relegation threatened side into freeflowing astute champions, along with being awarded the Kniksen Award for Coach of the Year, still left the determined manager as an apparently inexperienced successor to Neil Lennon at Celtic.
“When the manager came in no one really knew who he was. But slowly everyone started to follow him and you can see now he loves the club,” stated club captain Scott Brown.
“It has worked. The lads are enjoying it and following the way he wants to do things.”
Upon his arrival, Deila declared his desire to deliver “attacking, exciting and entertaining football”, a tactical approach which the 38-year-old has solely focused on during his short but sweet managerial career.
Although, after coming under-fire early during his Bhoys reign for seeking attractive performances rather than a constant stream of wining results, Deila eventually managed to blend both, on occasion.
Securing a League Cup and Scottish Premiership double in his maiden campaign proved his Celtic credentials and showed his potentially risky appointment was worthwhile, ironing out earlier season mishaps.
“Defensively we have been unbelievable the whole season and we have hardly conceded a goal,” said Deila.
“We have worked so hard for this and finally we are there and can start thinking of next season. There is always high pressure here and I put high demands on myself as well.”
Deila overcame a rite of passage as Hoops boss, comfortably dispatching bitter Old Firm rivals Rangers in the League Cup semi-final, before eventually lifting the title, boosting his popularity with the green and white masses in Glasgow.
However, if the Norwegian is to eventually cement his spot among trophy-laden past predecessors at one of the toughest jobs in club football, relative success in Europe must be achieved in order to gain true unquestioned recognition.
An early Champions League exit after disastrous showings to supposedly inferior opposition Legia Warsaw and Maribor saw the challenging club fall short in the group stages, previously piling pressure on their new boss.
Domestic success has softened any of those lasting European blows dealt early in the season, but mammoth fixtures at Celtic Park against giants like AC Milan and Barcelona are not only hoped for at his demanding club, but are expected.
“We need to go into the Champions League and show we are just as good as we were two or three seasons ago,” continued skipper Brown.
“Everyone thrives on Champions league nights. It’s amazing walking out that tunnel to 60k fans and we need to get that back next season.”
With such a determined attitude towards his managerial skills, having sought further knowledge form time at Manchester City, Barcelona and Ajax in a bid to develop, Deila is becoming a Hoops hit after providing youthfulness, energy and a keen eye for developing young homegrown talent in his debut term, and is sure to build upon these hard-fought foundations next season.