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Comment & Analysis | Comment & Opinion | Sport

Opinion: Celtic failing to win the Scottish Premiership is edging closer to a reality

Paul Quinn of Ross County celebrates against Celtic [Picture: Getty]
Paul Quinn of Ross County celebrates against Celtic, who have suffered back-to-back defeats [Picture: Getty]
WHERE do I even start? Wednesday night was a bad night for Celtic right across the board.

Before the Aberdeen game kicked off I had seen many people Tweet they would take a draw. A draw? I thought ‘no chance – a win is a must for Celtic especially after Sunday’s embarrassing defeat to Ross County’.

Little did we know what was about to hit us at Pittodrie. Ronny Deila’s job has been in question for a long time now. I personally thought his job was hanging by a thread after our carry-on in Europe, and now that final thread could finally be about to snap.

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Before I start off on this rant – credit must go to Aberdeen – as they fully deserved to take the three points and I think just a 2-1 win for them wasn’t any sort of reflection on how well they played, it certainly could have been more.

The first 20 minutes didn’t make bad viewing for Celtic fans as the team were dominant in possession. Aberdeen’s first goal in the 31st minute was completely against the run of play and there was no stopping that Jonny Hayes strike from 25 yards.

But Celtic suddenly went all over the place and looked unlikely to equalise, and then came the killer blow. The 37th minute saw another goal for Aberdeen from Simon Church, who marked his debut in memorable fashion, scoring from close range to make it 2-0.

Aberdeen were by now in complete control of the game and there was no way Celtic were coming back. Leigh Griffiths did manage to find the back of the net in injury-time but it was celebrated in silence from the away supporters who had made the journey.

So where do we go from here? Having sat back and read some of the comments across social media after the match I am finding that more fans are speaking out, nobody with a real interest in Celtic Football Club can be happy with the current state of affairs.

Some might say ‘but we are still top of the league’ but, I’m sorry, for me a measly three points ahead of Aberdeen is not good enough. When you take in the resources Celtic have compared to all other clubs in the league it is very worrying. Again, credit to Aberdeen who are right on Celtic’s heels and look set to chase them right to the death.

Another common argument made by Bhoys fans is that ‘it’s great competition for the league’.

Likewise, I don’t see this as a plus as for Aberdeen to be able to challenge Celtic it means we have slipped even further than I thought. Not long ago I wrote that some fans wouldn’t see the issues brewing at Celtic until they came close to losing the league. I didn’t actually expect that to happen, but we are now in real danger of it becoming a reality.

Although I still believe Celtic will win the league, the fact we are discussing the possibility that they might not should have fans asking questions.

I have witnessed two different types of supporters over the past few months; some who won’t have a bad word spoken about the club, who say you’re ‘not a real fan’ once you comment on how poor we have played.

The second are the ones who can see there are issues from top to bottom.

I’m not out to just attack Ronny Deila. In fact, I would love nothing more than for him to do well, as Celtic supporters I’m sure we would all agree? But since Europe I have lost faith in him.

Celtic manager Ronny Deila [Picture: Getty]
Time up? Celtic manager Ronny Deila [Picture: Getty]
My confidence in this side is gone. Under Martin O’Neill, Gordon Strachan or even Neil Lennon, if we went down by two goals I would in my heart of hearts believe that we could turn it around or at least grab a draw. Now, once a team so much as equalises, I have no faith whatsoever that we can even hold on for a point.

Granted, it’s easy to blame the manager, that’s why my issues actually start with the board and always have. Financially, Celtic are run excellently, something I applaud Peter Lawwell for.

Last year we saw the club get a complete new facelift outside the ground and, truth be told, Celtic Park now looks outstanding.

That’s all great work from those at the top, but where they fall short is with reinvestment in the team.

At times I feel I am being taken for a fool as a fan of the club. The board know Celtic supporters don’t just fall into following the club, it’s something you are born into for many of us.

As they say, it’s a way of life – it’s not like Chelsea or Manchester City, who have manufactured a worldwide fan base over the last few years due to success. Celtic will never have the money to rival such clubs financially, but we were once a team everyone feared playing against, with a worldwide fan base to go with it.

The board has done well to stable us financially during the tough times and for that I am grateful, but something has to change. Fans pay good money to watch this team. I myself travelled from Dublin to the game in Hampden Park last Sunday; I sat in the cold and rain and watched Celtic dumped out of the cup in embarrassing fashion.

Obviously, I would love Celtic to win every game, but that’s not a reality. I do, however, hope to see some sort of performance from the lads from kick-off to the final whistle – something we haven’t seen from a large number of players in this squad.

If you were to ask me should Ronny be sacked, I would say yes.

One of the big questions is who could replace him if he were to go. There are plenty of options, but we’d need Lawwell out of the way to avoid him dictating every move.

Martin O'Neill, left, with counterpart Michael O'Neill [©INPHO/Morgan Treacy]
Michael O’Neill, right, has been touted as a potential replacement for Deila [©INPHO/Morgan Treacy]
Celtic is a great club for any manager to come to. I don’t just say that because I’m a fan; I say it because of what it offers – the chance of regular European football being the big factor. Mind you, with the dire performances in Europe this season, anyone that was to come in wouldn’t have much of a challenge to try and top that.

As I said a few weeks ago, only a treble would save Ronny this season. That’s now impossible while there are even doubts over the league title.

This season hasn’t been good enough and even supporters with the darkest tinted green specs on would have to admit that.

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2 comments on “Opinion: Celtic failing to win the Scottish Premiership is edging closer to a reality”

  1. Gerry Graham

    Agree 100%..Liewwel is dictating what's going on here and you can see what's it's doing to the team..He's bringing in 2nd rate players who he hopes he can punt for plenty..Well Mr Liewwl it's time for you to go..We should be lite years ahead of the rest and were not and that's down to the board..I won't be renewing my S/Ticket next year if he's still there HH

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  2. Phil

    Rachel; good article, one that pretty much sums up my feelings. It gets on my nerves that some fans come out with the "you're not a real fan" because I dare to state that the emperor (club) have no metaphorical clothes on! I've seen both the good and the bad since watching Celtic from 70's.

    I also do not expect to win every match. Certainly not in Europe and the occasional one match hiccup will happen. But I do expect us to dominate in Scotland, with maybe only a couple of teams troubling us. That is not arrogance but a simple assessment of the advantage we have in resources compared to anyone else in Scotland right now. Given the money and squad we have, we should be miles better than we are right now. And there is money in club to afford doing things a little differently without risking the club.

    Anyone watching these games, if they are being honest withthemselves, can see we are going backwards under Ronny. I know many want to make excuses for him, saying it's Lawwell's signings, or look he's still top of league. While possibly true, Ronny bears the brunt of the criticism because it comes with the job. As gaffer, he runs the practices, decides on tactics, devises strategy, picks the team and gets them ready to play. Problem is, it is not showing up during games!

    It appears to be an incredibly fragile squad, who the moment something goes wrong, drop their head and lose their will. It happened again vs Aberdeen when against the run of possession, they got one shot and scored. When the second one went in, yet anot her goal conceded from a set piece, everyone knew it was over. That actually is another point. Isn't the manager supposed to find a way to solve a known problem? We have given up some absolutely horrible soft goals in past couple of years from free kicks and corners. The opposition don't always score, but most of the time its like a comedy of errors routine and Hearts in mouth moments at any set piece. And still this has not been fixed!

    Ronny can't appear to get them motivated before the match, or get their focus adjusted and refocused during games. Like you I still believe Celtic will hang in and win the league. But it is far from being a given right now. I don't want to even begin to think the horror implications if we slipped up and lost it. I actually think that this squad can be better under a different manager. They need someone to come in, reorganize, motivate and light a fire under them. If fans and board can't see this then they are watching a different gamestory than I am. Thanks for providing opportunity to rant! Cheers and Hail Hail!

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