RONNY DEILA has admitted he had to leave his dream job as manager of Celtic – for the good of the club.
But he revealed he is also proud of the part his former players are performing under his successor Brendan Rodgers.
The Norwegian, who left the club last summer after two eventful years in charge, made no excuses for the reasons he had to go.
Deila said: “My second season was a failure. I measure myself on whether the team is getting better.
“Throughout the whole first season we got better and better and better.
“Then we had a great pre-season, we did well in the first qualifying games, we beat Malmo in the home leg, everything was going upwards and then we lose in Malmo.
“I lost Virgil van Dijk, which really impacted on the group and the pressure on my position started to intensify.
“After that, we had a couple of bad losses in the league and the pressure on me continued to increase throughout the season to such degree that I could tell it was starting to impact on the players’ performances, as well.
“The worst thing that could ever happen was that we lost the league to Aberdeen. The difference between the clubs is so big that if I didn’t win the league I might as well never come back to Glasgow and just retire as a coach.
“No way I was going to be the first manager to lose a league to Aberdeen since Alex Ferguson was there!
“I thought: ‘This isn’t about Ronny Deila, this is about Celtic’. The best thing I could do to save the season, to release some positive energy among the players and make sure we won the league was to say that enough is enough, and that I would be leaving.
“In the end, it was the best thing that could have happened for all parts with Brendan Rodgers coming in.
“If I was allowed to chose any manager to replace me, I would have chosen Brendan Rodgers.
“I know that we share a lot of the same ideas and values and that he would be able to really push through and develop that culture that we had tried to implement over those two seasons.
“I’m very proud that 80 per cent of his team are players I brought in or I developed and that six of those played in Scotland’s 2-2 game against England recently.”
Deila dded: “I was back at Celtic Park last year for the Champions League game against Barcelona.
“I would have preferred sitting in the corner with the fans, as watching from the director’s box is so boring.
“I’d much rather sit in the stand, have a hot dog and relax, than having to put on a suit and go into a VIP area.
“Celtic have changed everything. If I go back to Glasgow in 15 years’ time, people would still come up to me. If Henrik Larsson – the greatest of the greatest – went into Glasgow city centre, he’d be mobbed.
“And Celtic fans are everywhere, all over the world. To be a part of Celtic is like being part of a family.
“The saying is: ‘A club like no other’ and it’s true. It’s something special.”