Back in October 2011 I was for calling an end to the Neil Lennon experiment. During the previous season he lost the league after a late collapse, while exiting Europe in August after defeats to Braga and Utrecht. That season Sion’s insistence in not playing by the rules allowed us a backdoor ticket to the Europa League but we were 10 points behind Ally McCoist’s Rangers.
Subsequent events proved there was not enough evidence on show to judge the Neil Lennon era early in his second season. Neil pulled things together, finished a credible third in the Europa League group and never looked back.
Ronny Deila has already made mistakes in his Celtic tenure but does anyone seriously believe he has had the opportunity and resources to build a team? Of course not. He needs to sort out the many cousins of George Weah who have arrived recently from the genuine John Guidetti’s. He needs players who can pass the ball with reasonable accuracy but most of all he needs players of courage and attitude.
I would probably be singing a different tune if we still had Rangers to contend with, long-term development objectives are important but the short-term need to win the league remains absolute, but we don’t, which means short-term targets remain well within grasp.
The memory of Rangers’ many mistakes in the years before liquidation offers another lesson. They sacked Paul Le Guen six months into a badly needed overhaul project. Le Guen was appointed months before he took up the reins and had enough time to watch his new team and scout transfer targets, but even that wasn’t enough to ensure a smooth transition, as he found the Weahs living in Austria. Le Guen was decrying his as a heretic by a club incapable of change.
Despite the tiredness after Thursday and a plethora of injuries, Celtic had enough resources to swamp a tiny football club yesterday. That we didn’t, suggests Ronny has a big job on his hands. From the frustration shown by Scott Brown and Stefan Johansen at their team-mates yesterday, I suggest he builds his recovery around these two.[calameo code=0003901718cdc4362fa2e? lang=en page=4 hidelinks=1 width=100% height=500]