06 Nov Opinion: Time running out for Deila
Fireworks filled up the night sky above Celtic Park at full time but there was no cause for celebration for the Hoops after another wretched performance in Europe.
Deila remained defiant in defeat, insisting Celtic simply hadn’t reached their level.
“We have done very well domestically. In Europe we haven’t reached that level that we want but we are going to improve,” he told reporters.
“I am not thinking about my position. I am going to work hard to turn this around and be ready for next year – and the last two Europa League games.”
But the simple fact of the matter is this: on the evidence of the last 18 months this is their level now.
Maribor, Malmo and Molde three distinctly average European sides, three sides which have disposed of Deila’s men in convincing fashion.
Alarmingly for Celtic they haven’t been able to arrest this decline in Europe, alarmingly for supporters there appears no indication that they are able to do so.
Six consecutive games where there have conceded two goals or more – it’s like being made to watch the same horror show over and over again.
The same calamitous defending being ruthlessly exposed by sides supposedly inferior, with the exception of Ajax and Fenerbahce, whose illustrious history carries more clout.
Deila’s record in Europe makes for disappointing reading: eight victories and nine defeats in 24 games – and not even against the top-tier teams in the Champions League.
Dedryck Boyata, Efe Ambrose and Tyler Blackett are all culpable at one stage or another for Celtic’s defensive frailties in Europe this season.
They splashed out £5 million on Jozo Simunovic who seems to be made of glass such is his fragility. He’s only played four of 13 games due to injury.
In every pre-match press conference, Deila vows to tighten the defence, make progress and take the club forward.
But Celtic fans have heard it all before, the words are failing to have the same impact they once did.
He frequently talks about seeing behind the result as if Celtic aren’t getting their just rewards for an impressive performance but unfortunately on the European front for Ronny that is either naive or delusional.
But all is not lost. Incredibly, after four games without a win, Celtic can still qualify for the last-32 with victories over Ajax at home and Fenerbahce away, but on recent evidence you wouldn’t gamble on it.
Deila’s job is safe in the meantime. He will get the chance to salvage their Europa League campaign and continue their treble quest.
It seems bizarre to be talking about a manager’s future when he could still win the treble, but that is the nature of Scottish football at present.
Time is running out; the club’s chief executive Peter Lawwell will soon have to make a decision on whether Deila will get a third crack at the Champions League or look for an alternative option.
If no progress is made from Group A and the Norwegian fails to win at least a domestic double, then, the Ronny roar won’t be heard at Celtic Park next season.