RONNY DEILA may well have been the Celtic manager now if it were not for an Honest Mistake or two that stopped him doing what Brendan Rodgers did in his first season, winning the Treble.
Of course there were European woes involved in the thought process that saw Celtic with managers from the likeable rookie Norwegian to the more expensive, thoroughbred in Brendan Rodgers. Oh and if you think back Resolution 12 played a part in that process too.
It is, as they say, a funny old game.
Ronny has been speaking to The Times about his time at Celtic and his enthusiasm for the club remains as intense as it every was. There is not a single bit of bad feeling towards his old club, in fact there is an intense pride in his own contribution to the Celtic story. The former manager takes a great deal of pride in his role in laying foundations for Brendan Rodgers to work with.
“My experience at Celtic will stay with me for a lifetime,” Ronny said.
“When I came to Celtic I had to do a big turnaround in the players. Neil Lennon’s team had been successful but it was getting older, it was past its prime, and my job was to bring young players in and develop them.
“That was why I got the job — the board believed I could develop a younger team.
“So I brought in guys like Kris Ajer, Ryan Christie, Stuart Armstrong, Gary Mackay-Steven and Dedryck Boyata. Plus, I brought Callum McGregor and Tom Rogic into the first team.
“Both Callum and Tom were at Celtic when I arrived but they weren’t really involved in the top team. Callum had been away on loan but I wanted to put him in the team.
“It was my job to make Celtic younger as well as successful. It was all part of the challenge. My job was to make it work.
“It takes time for young players to develop and now I think you can see how good many of these players are.
“I think Brendan Rodgers is doing the same. I look at the job he is doing, in developing players, and I think he has been fantastic. To win six trophies in a row – and it might be seven this weekend – is unbelievable. I am very impressed.”
Two of Rodgers’ big signing successes in his first season in charge were Scotty Sinclair and Moussa Dembele and as Delia’s reveals those two are examples of great minds thinking alike as the Norwegian tried to bring both to Parkhead.
“I tried to get Scott Sinclair to Celtic in 2015 but it couldn’t happen. I spoke to Scott, but I don’t think the money was there at the time. In any case, he wanted to stay in England, and go to Aston Villa.
“We also knew that we could get Moussa Dembele. We knew about his situation at Fulham, that his contract there was ending, and John Collins and I went down to England to watch him.
“This wasn’t about me, it was a part of the process we had at Celtic. We wanted to get Dembele in.”
In the end Ronny had two eventful years as Celtic manager when he won two titles and a league cup, and was done out of a few more by the Honest Mistake mob. It was intense pressure from start to finish but he loved just about every minute of it.
“What I learned at Celtic you couldn’t read in any book,” Ronny said.
“Here in Norway some coaches talk of the pressure we are under. I can guarantee you the pressure is a small breeze compared to the pressure of managing Celtic.
“I learned how to cope with that pressure. How to play 60 games in a season. How to cope with having to win every weekend. A new culture and language. How Scottish football was thinking, and the mentality of the game in Britain. I could tell you 100 things I learnt about myself and football if you gave me the time.
“Maybe what I learned most was that you must be clear, you must have clarity, as a manager.
“I think about that every day and try to offer it to my players here at Valerenga. I think I bring more clarity now to my work.”
Images are from Ronny’s League Cup win over Dundee Utd in March 2015, the pics below are the goals.
Also on The Celtic Star today…
Celtic’s League Cup Wins, No.17: First Step to a Double Treble…See HERE.
Celtic Team for Hampden – Scotty Sinclair, Celtic’s medal hunter…See HERE.
Sleepy Bhoys! A well deserved long lie in Trondheim for Celtic stars…See HERE.
Celtic’s League Cup Wins, No.16: The first of many for Brendan…See HERE.
Jim Craig – Tommy Coyne got two and Charlie Nicholas one…See HERE.
Why not try David Potter’s League Cup Quiz and test yourself with these 17 multiple choice questions about Celtic’s 17 victories in this cup competition…go on, have a go!