Parallels with Artmedia offer hope to Ronny Deila


On the road this week so today’s blog is by author Stephen O’Donnell:

Pick the bones out of that! I didn’t see Legia against St. Patrick’s Athletic in the previous qualifying round, but by all accounts they were fairly unimpressive, even in winning 5 – 0 in Dublin. I was even tempted to have a wee bet on Celtic to win by more than one goal on Wednesday night, and by the time my hastily arranged subscription to Premier Sports had come through things were looking good after Callum McGregor’s early strike.

Sadly, it didn’t last. It’s a measure of how poorly Celtic played on the night that they were lucky to escape from Warsaw with a 4 – 1 defeat because, let’s face it, but for Fraser Forster and some wayward penalty taking, it could have been worse.

As expected, it didn’t take long for the Celtic Newsnow stream to start filling up with tales of anguish and pontification from the mainstream media. From AEK Athens to Maribor, the list of European failures at certain other clubs (including one that is now defunct) is long and distinguished, but nothing gets the SMSM in full gloating mode like a painful Celtic defeat on the Continent.

On Wednesday we were reminded about Artmedia Bratislava, Utrecht, Karagandy etc., I even heard Neuchatel Xamax being mentioned at one point. The key of course is that there is no context and analysis provided when these previous losses are dragged up, Celtic supporters simply have to suffer such painful reminders.

This lack of constructive analysis is a pity because there are comparisons and parallels that can be usefully drawn with previous chastening experiences in Europe. It seems that new Celtic managers are particularly vulnerable to them; Tony Mowbray initially enjoyed a successful preseason, including winning the Wembley Cup, but his first competitive game was a 1 – 0 home defeat to Dynamo Moscow. Neil Lennon had Utrecht and Braga, and of course Gordon Strachan had Artmedia.

It’s what happened in Bratislava that I think has most relevance to Wednesday night – a new manager in post, replacing a club legend, trying to introduce a more cerebral approach, a squad clearly divided amongst those who are still pining for the previous incumbent and those who want to move on and embrace the new manager’s methods… the parallels in fact are numerous and really quite striking. Hopefully this is a sign that Ronny, like WGS before him, will turn this early setback around and grow into the role of Celtic manager.

One of the most important aspects of managerial success is the chemistry between the boss and his players. This lack of a connection in the dressing-room and on the training field is the reason John Collins failed at Hibs; it’s why Mowbray didn’t last out a season at Celtic. If the chemistry isn’t right then the team will lack focus, motivation and game intelligence at crucial times in the season, and these traits were all conspicuous by their absence in both Warsaw and Bratislava.

But chemistry takes time, it didn’t come immediately to either Lennon or Strachan, and Ronny Deila still has the opportunity to get his progressive ideas across and win the respect and admiration of his squad. If that happens then, like Lenny and WGS before him, he will go on to lead Celtic to domestic and European success.

In the meantime, there is the second leg still to come. If the parallels with Artmedia and Karagandy are to be heard in the media again then Legia could yet be in for a tough night next week. The tie is most certainly not over and it will slowly be dawning on the players who let themselves down on Wednesday that there is only one way to make up for what happened.

Pride and defiance have to come to the fore again, and the situation is still retrievable. All the ingredients are there for a potentially famous night at Murrayfield next Wednesday.

Follow Stephen O’Donnell on twitter @stephenodauthor

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  1. traditionalist88 on



    12:14 on


    1 August, 2014





    Our SB sales have fallen over the years for a variety of reasons – maybe this wasn’t unexpected given the financial crisis etc and some buying the armageddon myth.



    For those(like yourself?) who have stopped buying a SB as a result of the boards perceived inability to run the club as well as they might, what are you doing about it?



    Aren’t you the ones meekly accepting that you can no longer support you club because of these people?



    I don’t see protests outside the ground or Celts for Change 2 so how can you expect to be taken seriously when you appear happy to simply walk off into the sunset cutting of full financial support to the club without doing visibly doing anything about it?



    Taking into account that Celtic FC IS the fans at what point do you decide to stop backing the team?



    Celtic will be around long after the current incumbents have gone but it will still be all about us – the fans. WE are what make Celtic, and God knows we will disagree with a lot of what goes on at the club in the future but I don’t think cutting ties completely will solve anything unless there is a coherent action plan which can be suitably justified.



    Otherwise Celtic just shrink for nothing.




  2. FFM – I’m the only conspiracy theorist in the village)



    You think the club is going backwards?


    How can you support that statement?



    Look at the environs to the stadium. The club has never been in better health.


    I have to confess that talking about catering to me is pretty much senseless. I don;t buy food at the football I may buy the occassional bovril in the cauld but I go to watch the fitba and eat and drink before I arrive. When my son goes with me in in future and he is more interested in eating and drinking he won;t be back with me until he wants to focus on the game. I have no interest in spending my time at the pie stall.


    Regarding the hospitality, I really wouldn;t know what it is like. I have never been in it. All I can say is that it looks pretty decent to me. I feel like a street boy looking in on a wealthy family tucking into their Sunday dinner.


    I don;t know enough about employment law to discuss the living wage in depth but agree that I would prefer to see these people earn a decent wage but their may be real reasons they don’t. I will leave that one to the experts.


    My main focus at Celtic games is what is on the pitch. The rest is nice to have but the pitch is where it happens. I want Celtic to be contenders. I know we won;t win every game but we must always compete. Even if we lose against better opposition we must still compete with them. It’s still only 11 v 11 men on a football pitch and every player must compete with his direct opponent. I did not see that against Legia and that is my major concern right now. Not the board, not Peter Lawwell, not anything else. The players must take the flak at the minute because they let everyone down on Wednesday and only they can put it right on Wednesday at Murrayfield. That keeper is dodgy. If I were Ronny I would play Griffith’s and Pukki with Commons and rattle shots at his goal from every angle with Stokes following them in because that keeper is very suspect and didn;t look comfortable with anything fired at him. I think the tie is gone because the Poles look a very good outfit but we can give them a scare by scoring a couple of early goals and see if they have the bottle.




  3. traditionalist88 on

    We should be aiming for 5 goals next Wednesday, Karagandy were an inch away from scoring at Parkhead so we should be accounting for Legia getting one.



    Commons and Griffiths should be told to shoot on sight. One has to go in for Commons eventually…







    On the subject of defeats…



    Nine teams beat Celtic on only one occasion in all competitions under Neil Lennon’s stewardship. However, three teams beat us twice, with one team recording three wins and another with four wins.


    Can you name them?




    ***The rules of the game are always the same.


    No search engines please, you’re only cheating yourself***

  5. Good blog. There are many parallels with WGS’s situation. One of the many thoughts I had after Wednesday was to wonder how many of our current squad had actually bought into RD’s vision. You’ve gotta take people with you.

  6. I think the comparison with artmedia is well off. That was a long time ago


    Players on the park that night were shocking in their attitude and some of them in a huff because a new manager had come in with different ideas


    The players on Wednesday night just are not of the quality to take us forward , we knew that last year and we knew we needed investment just to make us on par with average teams in Europe

  7. SydneyTim



    Agreed. Artmedia were worse than Karagandy.


    Everything they hit in Bratislava found the net!




  8. Ross county. Tax evaders and Kilmarnock


    Aberdeen as the other team


    Pure guess after a bottle of oz wine

  9. West End of East End on

    LiviBhoy – I’m the same as yourself, I go to watch the team, maybe buy the odd pie n bovril now and again and the half time draw but the reason I’m there is to hopefully watch the team win.



    We should be talking about the players, the formation etc not about KPI’s of the CEO. It’s the players that are underperforming, wonder what KPI’s they have in their contract.



    I don’t hear supporters at the game talking about Peter Lawwell’s bonus structure, maybe it’s only the lapsed supporters on here who are interested about it, if they were ever supporters in the first place.

  10. IGC













    St Johnstone









    Ross County




    St Mirren





  11. Steinreignedsupreme on

    I was travelling and didn’t see the game, but looking at the details last night I was fairly alarmed that we lost a late third goal before surviving a missed penalty, and still managed to concede a fourth goal.



    Regardless of the tactics and the sending-off, the players selected have enough experience to see the game out.



    From what I gather there is little cause for optimism based on the performance on Wednesday, but at this stage of the season a week is a long time.



    I don’t think it is impossible for Celtic to win this tie. We were here last season and we got the three goals in regulation time.



    Wednesday at Murrayfield is likely to be a defining moment in our season.

  12. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    It is sad that we no longer a force in European Football but this is not a recent happening our European stock has not been good for a long time and in my opinion it is all down to money top players are bought and sold for huge sums and there salaries are huge.However,we should be able to compete with teams like Legia Warsaw now no doubt Rony got his team selection wrong but the players on the park should have been good enough to compete.My feeling is that any team that has Efe Ambrose a centre back are taking a huge risk as his concentration levels are poor and we see mistakes frequently from him also Van Dyke is not at his best his mind may be elswhere and Charlie Mulgrew looked as though he had never played the game before.Others were also poor so overall the players let themselves and the fans down with there lack of fight.I think the only way forward for Rony is to be given time and eventualy through players leaving and players coming in let him build his own team. H.H.




    I remember this time last year, I congratulated you for correctly predicting we’d beat Shaktar and progress to the group stages. I had my doubts at the time, and reckoned we’d win on the night, but not enough to go through.



    I very much admire your optimism, but, once again, my thoughts are exactly the same as last year. A win on the night, but, ultimately, glorious failure!



    Should we do the business on Wednesday, I’ll be the first one on here to congratulate you.





    (think I need to) KTF




  14. jude2005 is Neil Lennon \o/ on

    So Griffiths bot a pair of boots costing £850. Could I borrow them Leigh to boot ur stupid wee ar*e ya wee slapheed nutter!!



    I led the campaign to bring you to Celtic btw and this is the 3rd time uv let me down.




    Just for clarity, I am looking for


    (a) the 3 teams that beat us twice


    (b) the one team who beat us three times


    (c) the one team who beat us four times



    in all competitions under NL.



    a. ???


    b. ?


    c. ?

  16. traditionalist88 on




    I respect your stance completely but in the bigger picture here is that Celtic would potentially shrink and for what? The fans are what is keeping us ticking at the moment against an ever increasing money pit down south which is distorting football across Europe.



    If we want to make a point, and there are many things which spring to mind, surely there is another way without withdrawing full financial support and with no coherent action plan?



    At what point do you decide to stop supporting the team? Callum McGregor doesn’t decide the managers budget;)




  17. jude2005 is Neil Lennon \o/ on

    D D



    Well done getting Fannings 14/1 shot. I see wee Tarts back in the winners enclosure!!!

  18. Quite a calm and slightly positive blog, Stephen. Well done.


    I remind myself of how much better than Legia we were for the opening fifteen minutes or so and I have hope for Wednesday. If we were playing, say, Real Sociedad, and were 4-1 down, I would be throwing in the towel.Legia are not a very good side. We CAN go through IF we hit form and the crowd is at its magnificent best. In these circumstances, there is no place for some of the weak, defeatist posters who have been occupying this dear green place of late.




  19. Celtic v Legia / Artmedia difference



    FF better than Boruc


    Lustig better than Telfer,


    VVD better than Balde,


    Mulgrew tied with McManus,


    Izzy better than Camara



    Johansson better than Wallace,


    Petrov better than Berget,


    Lennon better than Biton,


    Thompson better than Commons



    Zurawski better than Griffiths,


    Hartson better than Pukki.



    Better defensively than Artmedia (on paper at least), going backwards in attack and weaker in midfield…



    That’s my opinion. We can do it but we are weaker now than then and the opposition is stronger.



    Not a great comparison therefore. :)

  20. prestonpans bhoys dam justice for the 5 on

    Interesting stuff Paul 67 and the inference I would take from it is that there are a few of our players not too enamoured with the new boss or his tactics.

  21. ....PFayr supports WeeOscar on

    Deila clearly doesn’t fancy most, if not all of our attackers



    Doesn’t fancy our only left back and apparently doesn’t rate Biton



    Quite a large number of players to get rid off



    I don’t know what he expects to see in a player …..Berget , his man , was a major disappointment on Wednesday …



    McGregor is a bonus …a promotion well earned …the only plus point thus far



    I’m puzzled that so many players who played well many times last season are now deemed not fit for purpose

  22. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    As I predicted the draw solace from the past being trotted put. WGS was a very experienced manager. Who had a very distinguished playing career. He also by the return leg had new signings Boruc and. Zurawski in the team. He also had many players who had lots of CL experience to call on. Stan, Chris, Lenny, Bobo Thompson we also played at Celtic Park.



    Any realistic appraisal surely points to a much longer more painful road to recovery.



    I see the 80s 90s coming up at least we wont have to change the board.




  23. ....PFayr supports WeeOscar on




    It’s not just the players who aren’t enamoured :-))

  24. Celtic have close to £60M at stake in this season and next seasons CL ( which has the BT £30M guaranteed payment ). qualification this season would have helped for next season and vice versa failure this season will make next season harder.



    Lawwell failed to make a strategic investment with 60 mil at stake that would also have assured do Eltic dominance for another 5 years.



    Delias system or use of players failed and compounds the failure of Lawwell.



    No emotion just fact.



    I hope Celtic turn it round during the week and we learn our lesson.



    However the failure of the club approaching the CL this season ( on top of scrapping by last season ) is unacceptable. If this is the way Lawwell want to run Celtic ( in ever decreasing circles ) , there will be no need for season tickets. The crowds will be around 20k max.



    I have 2 season tickets and without the interest of CL football , the domestic fare holds little interest. I might go to the opening game for Fergus. After that one , I can’t see them being used.



    C’est la vie.

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