The future at Celtic is with Scott Allan in the middle of the park, whether Ronny Deila will be there to recognise that fact, I am not so sure. The stats don’t lie, the manager has been in charge of 25 matches with just eight wins.
Thursday night’s 2-1 loss to Ajax is Celtic’s tenth match without a win in this competition and it is simply not good enough, even at this level of European football.
Last week’s AGM brought a surprising line from the Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell backing the manager to the hilt.
‘We look after our managers here and help them to develop.’ was the defiant cry from the man in charge of the purse strings at Celtic.
Music to the ears of the Norwegian, but to observers of Celtic, not fooled by spin, worrying times in a January transfer window and the summer’s Champions League qualifiers with a man in charge who simply cannot sort out an abysmal defence.
There are positives in the Celtic team and I have gone on record, time and time again, that the Celtic fans will really warm to Scott Allan once he gets a regular berth in the middle of the park.
He is a forward thinking player who can pick a pass. Yes, he lost the ball that resulted in Ajax’s winner, but that was at a point when Celtic were chasing a win, knowing full well Fenerbahce were putting the final nail in the coffin of qualification hopes with a victory gainst Molde.
Allan will get better, he will learn alongside Scott Brown on his return, but right now, he has a free eight week run to seize his opportunity for permanent selection in the captain’s absence.
Back to the game, Celtic’s back line is calamitous and it is not a one-off situation. The defence has leaked eleven goals in five games in the Europa League and all have been costly.
Don’t bother blaming John Kennedy. How the former Celtic centre-half was allowed to shoulder any of the blame for the zonal nightmare marking of the past is beyond me.
The buck stops with the manager and if it wasn’t for some of his ludicrous statements about Celtic being able to go all the way or win every game, some people might be a little more tolerant of his ineptitude.
Celtic don’t back their managers and look after them. They treat every individual like any member of the business, if you do your job you stay in it. Just ask Tony Mowbray.
If Peter Lawwell starts to see more and more empty seats at Celtic park, the axe will fall. Time is not something any manager has these days. Win, win and then, win again.
What about style, flair and entertainment? I don’t see it in this Celtic side.
What I do see is 40,000 or so fans holding their breath and looking through their fingers at set pieces against them or any quick counter attack from the opposition.
Now, Fenerbahce away is a dead rubber, much like most of Celtic’s european adventures under Deila, but there are more worrying times ahead.
There’s a cold winter to come with no-one capable of challenging Celtic domestically.
They will win games, knowing that Hearts will slip up, like they did last week against Dundee. Aberdeen will continue their unpredictable form and by April the league will be all but won.
The only debate will come if Celtic don’t win the treble.
I dread to think of the fall out from that, if they are denied by a match official, which usually takes some zealot’s eyes off the bigger picture of a team that is simply not good enough.
Celtic’s expectation levels are dropping in accordance with their revenue. They are now a Europa league team, but a fourth tier one, as the group table reveals.
Something has to change and maybe the introduction of Allan to the midfield might make some of the winter games ahead more bearable for Celtic fans, as the manager fights to convince them that he is the real deal.