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Ronny Deila hits back at his critics – about time too

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Celtic manager Ronny Deila has hit back at his critics telling them to ‘talk to him in April’ after winning their fifth title in a row.

The headlines surrounding Celtic’s first league defeat of the season has been hysterical to say the least, from Deila being out of his depth, to a sports journalist who loves to boast about his wage packet saying how he is still right about Deila despite him winning a league and cup double to one claiming that Deila would be sacked if Celtic don’t qualify from the Europa League group stages.

All the while they are publishing article after article lauding Rangers and ignoring the clear contradictory comments from the club’s chairman Dave King – in case they get banned like Chris McLaughlin and Graham Speirs were – not to mention lose out on that all important and regular email from Level5PR.

Compare and contrast the media commentary surrounding Ally McCoist with that of Ronny Deila. Despite having the second biggest budget in Scottish football – Rangers struggled to beat part time clubs and should really have secured three Petrofac Cups in the three previous years in the lower leagues of the SPFL. Where were the hatchet jobs? Where were the articles claiming McCoist was out of his depth? Where were the articles slamming McCoist’s ability as a manager because he didn’t win the Petrofac Cup?

Funnily enough the media as a whole only turned on McCoist’s managerial abilities and tenure in charge at Rangers AFTER he left the Ibrox side. Now why is that?

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Thursday night’s game against Ajax is a huge affair for Celtic – away from all the hysteria and hyperbole peddled by those who are supposed to be the cream of Scottish sports journalism. Yet in the run up to the game, we have stories wheeled out about a group of Celtic fans receiving a letter because one of them is allergic to the Lynx effect.

Is this really news? Let alone the coverage that our game deserves? God forbid these so-called journalists were reporting on our game when the Jungle was around. But back then we actually had journalists who reported the news, who published proper exclusives and who investigated issues within the sport. Not churn out press releases as exclusives or do their pal at Club X a turn by not criticising him too much.

Woodward and Bernstein they are not. No wonder circulation figures are in a constant nose dive.

Now I am not claiming that Deila doesn’t deserve criticism after this season’s Champions League exit and defeat to Aberdeen at the weekend. Of course he does. He puts out the team, he selected the tactics, the formation and failed to make changes during the game to counter the opposition – but it is ridiculous to even contemplate sacking the man just seven games into the league season after winning five, drawing once and losing one game. If that is the sign of someone teetering on the brink of the sack then our game is truly done for.

The only time that a decision should be made on Deila’s position as manager of Celtic is if the reigning Scottish champions lose this season’s title. Celtic are actually better off this season in the league than where they were last year and Deila wasn’t given the chop back then – much to the dismay of those who had already written their articles and headlines awaiting Deila’s rotten start to the season.

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Celtic may be five points behind a Derek McInnes-inspired Aberdeen side in fine form currently – but there are 38 games in a season and has last season showed, despite having such a poor start to the season, Celtic marched on to win their fourth title in a row some 17 points clear of last season’s title challengers Aberdeen.

It is also pretty telling that the same media elements that are hoping for Deila to be given the boot are the same ones who are claiming that Rangers WILL be challenging Celtic for the title next season – ignoring this season’s league leaders Aberdeen as well as Hearts and Inverness Caley Thistle. All because a club with the second biggest wage bill in the country is comfortably beating a lower standard of club in the league below Scotland’s top flight – what happens when they have to face better sides week in week out?

I fully expect this season to be a lot closer than last year, but I still cannot see past another Premiership trophy being held aloft at Celtic Park at the end of the season.

And if the impossible occurs and Celtic fail to win the league this season then the Norwegian SHOULD be sacked as he freely admitted himself.

Deila said: “If we don’t win the league, sack me. That’s no problem. We are going to win the league. We are going to prove that in the coming matches. Slaughter me if we don’t. We have a clear goal. We are going to play another 31 matches. We are going to win the league.

“Talk to me in April and we will see where we are. We are confident we are going to be top of the table come the end of the season. It’s easy to talk about the league after just seven rounds of games but let’s keep a bit of perspective.

“I understand people think this is fun to talk about but we are going to play Aberdeen three more times, so it is very early to talk about the title.

“We won the title by 17 points last season. We have won five out of seven games so far this season. So it is unbelievable to talk about this now.

“Yes we lost to Aberdeen last Saturday but we have won four out of our last five games against them. So now everything is s**t? I don’t go with that. I’m so confident in what we are doing, so let’s keep this in perspective.”

Scottish football fans now know there is more mince in our print media than a spaghetti bolognaise, their dwindling sales are seeing redundancies being made across the board and so hyperbole works better than the plain old boring news of stating the facts and actually investigating a story.

After all we would not have had the ‘aff the radar’ article if our journalists actually did their jobs properly rather than regurgitate a press release and take it as fact [Then claim I was duped afterwards]. Nor would this website have to prove that Charles Green’s Dallas Cowboy commercial link-up was a load of bull ahead of the mainstream media – who also had to ask this person for the NFL’s press officer’s contact details.

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Just look at the SMSM reporting of Dave King’s latest press conference – only STV looked at King’s comments and dissected them. Only the STV brought in an insolvency expert to discuss King’s claims of ‘unliquidating’ the oldco aka the ‘traditional Rangers’. But the print media were happy to secure a transcript of the press conference and publish that in full – free copy after all – with no dissection and no investigation.

Looking ahead to tonight’s match I fully expect it to be very tough for Celtic and I freely admit that I cannot see past an Ajax victory in the Amsterdam Arena. I will continue to have my say on Ronny Deila as a manager and Celtic as a club on and off the park – but I will certainly not be following the route of the hyperbole churnalists and so-called ‘award winning’ journalists [who actually had to pay for their entry into their respective wards bash]who are still feeling sorry for themselves after being banned by the club they have continued to ridicule and attack since that day.

Just imagine if the media had gotten their way before the Norwegian was appointed. An inexperienced Henrik Larsson or a basket case of a manager in the guise of Roy Keane. Or god forbid Owen Coyle who is struggling with MLS club Houston Dynamo [All three signings would have been great for the backpages but rotten for Celtic].

Ronny Deila will be the Celtic manager for the forseeable future thankfully than a bunch of overpaid hacks with a axe to grind.

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About Author

scotzine

Andy Muirhead is the Editor of Scotzine and the Scottish Football fanzine FITBA. He is the Scottish Football columnist for The Morning Star and has written for a number of other publications including ESPN, Huffington Post UK, BT Life's a Pitch and has had his work featured in the Daily Record, The Scotsman and the Daily Mail.

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