RONNY DEILA has revealed his first year as Celtic manager was a massive learning curve.
It began with a month or so of settling in as Neil Lennon’s successor became aware of the constant demands of life at Parkhead.
The Norwegian inherited regulars such as skipper Scott Brown, Virgil van Dijk, Charlie Mulgrew and countryman Stefan Johansen, among others.
He had to oversee the eventual £10million sale of popular goalkeeper Fraser Forster to Southampton while also selling striker Tony Watt to Standard Liege. He introduced Craig Gordon to the No.1 position after the international had spent two years out of the game through injury.
Teemu Pukki, Amido Balde and Dylan McGeouch went out on loan while he spent £2.3million on Sporting Gijon’s Serbian striker Stefan Scepovic. He brought in five loan players in the shape of Jason Denayer, John Guidetti, Marabak Wakaso, Aleksander Tonev and Jo Inge Berget.
It was a dramatic period of transition on and off the field and it was reflected in some scorelines, particularly in Europe.
However, Deila displayed some remarkable spirit to continue working on his beliefs and the reward came in the shape of Celtic’s fourth successive SPFL title and the League Cup.
The Hoops boss reflected: “The most important thing is that I understand you have to experience things before you can learn. And it made it even more concrete to what I believe in – you have to give players and staff and others the opportunity to experience things and then learn from them.
“You are going to make mistakes and do good things, but the best thing is not to make the same mistake twice. You should always keep this process going all the time, always thinking of development.”It’s so important at a big club like this, with the pressure the players and I are under. Good performances will bring us the results we want.”
Deila believes these lessons, along with all the big-game experience amassed by the players and himself, will be crucial as the Celtic prepare for Wednesday’s Champions League first leg play-off clash against Malmo at Parkhead.
He said: “All the experiences the players and I have been through in football are important in this game. It’s important in being able to deal with big games. I have done it many times and so have the players and it’s important to take this into the game.”
Prior to the showdown with the Swedish side, Celtic have domestic concerns to consider with tomorrow afternoon’s visit of Inverness Caley Thistle.
And the manager will be demanding improvements in how the Hoops defend as a collective unit after several defensive lapses saw them emerge with only one point in the 2-2 draw with Kilmarnock in midweek.
He added: “We played a lot of good football on Wednesday night, like we did against Partick Thistle. Everyone can make mistakes – we can make a wrong pass or miss a chance – but we need to stay together as a unit and stay switched on and be 100 per cent in everything we do.That’s something we need to get back on track on Saturday.
“I want a disciplined, organised team and we weren’t like that in parts of the game at Rugby Park and that’s why we conceded goals and chances. We have been very good defensively for a long time, though, so, hopefully, this is just something that will happen only once.”Scott Brown didn’t feature against the Ayrshire outfit, but the manager is optimistic that the captain will be available for the Malmo match and possibly even the league fixture against John Hughes’ Highlanders.
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