If the 2-1 defeat at home to Dutch Champions Ajax wasn’t enough of a kick in the guts for the Scottish Champions last week, then the 3-1 away, & 2-1 home defeats to mid-table Norwegian side Molde was in The UEFA Europa League group stages weeks earlier.
Kris Commons throws in the towel after being substituted mid-way through the second-half against Molde. BBC News.
This was especially evident, when the one month-old contracted Molde coach, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, offered his coaching advice to the Celtic management at the post-match Europa League news conference – Adding further insult to injury.
So heart-wrenching has been the manner of the defeats at Parkhead, it’s hard to even imagine that at one stage, Celtic were on the brink of qualifying to The 2015/16 UEFA Champions’ League Group Stages this season.
At 3-1 up at Celtic Park against Malmo FF, The Club were cruising in 90’ mins plus 6’ added time. The Bhoys were in control for large parts of the tie, and smiles could be seen beaming around Deila & the squad around the touchlines before the final whistle.
But, in typical Celtic fashion, they bamboozled themselves off a set-piece situation. Jo Inge-Berget picked up his second goal in the final minute of injury-time; Inge-Berget a player released by Celtic at the end of 2014/15 – deemed not good enough by The Club. The ultimate kick in the teeth.
Malmo FFs Jo Inge-Berget banishes ghosts of the past, scoring a crucial brace against his former club. Sky Sports.
Part of the reason behind the clubs inability to keep a clean sheet in Europe this season lies partly behinds the clubs transfer policies and then finding the right replacements.
One of Neil Lennon’s last signings as Manager was Dutch defender, Virgil Van Dijk, bought from Dutch Eredivisie Side, FC Groningen for a £2.6 Million Pound fee. The tall, imposing and attack-minded Centre-Half was later sold to Southampton for £13 Million, and his partnership with on-loan CB Jason Denayer from Manchester City was simply outstanding, and that’s from an attacking point of view.
But what about the Replacements for 2015/2016. Arriving came the young guns of Saidy Janko (Undisclosed) and Tyler Blackett (on-loan) from Manchester United, and defender Dedryck Boyata from Manchester City for a rough £1.5 Million pounds.
Belgian defender Dedryck Boyata was signed from 2014/15 English Premier League Runners-up, Manchester City. BBC News.
From an attacking point of view in Europe. It is easy to forget the results of last season, which saw the team progress to the UEL Knock-Out Stages, forming an impressing 3-3 Draw with Serie A Giants, Inter-Milan before exiting Europe by virtue of a Freddy Guarin special, departing Milan, with a 0-1 result at The San Siro.
There was a certain amount of confidence in the air when Celtic held onto the ball last season, and no-longer was there a fear of pressing forward, with statistics such as 27-30% possession under the defensive-mindset of former manager, Neil Lennon, gone.
However, what was once termed as a ‘a great wall’ by Spanish Newspaper Le Marca when Barcelona came visited Celtic Park barely 3-years ago now, has largely vanished.
Welshman Adam Mathews battles Leo Messi for the ball. Celtic would go on to eventually win the game, 2-1. Source: Getty Images.
Ronny Deila’s attempt to play Dedryck Boyata paired with Efe Ambrose as an attack minded Centre-Halves, like Virgil Van Dijk in the past, has had awful consequences. Twice leading Ajax in Amsterdam, and up 2-0 at Home against Turkish Heavyweights Fenerbahce, turned winnable positions into disappointing 2-2 draws on both occasions.
The subsequent defeats suffered at the hands of Norwegian club Molde, came largely out of Deila’s inability to adapt to resolving the clubs defensive set-up. You simply cannot have 9 out of 11 players playing in the oppositions half, and not expect to be caught on the break.
You also cannot play Boyata and Ambrose together as a centre-pairing, let alone saying both surnames together in the same sentence. Both players have scored more own-goals, in addition committing to errors leading to goals even before the halfway stage Scottish Premiership season. This must be some record.
The present siege mentality created by the Manager also hasn’t helped the media and on-looking fans. Statements such as “The club will be ready for The Champions League next season,” is simply not good enough to be manager at Celtic.
Taking on-board Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s comments that Celtic need a challenger, whether it be Aberdeen, Hearts or the oncoming Rangers and Hibernian. Even if you can bounce back in the Premiership with a comfortable 3-1 victory over Inverness over the weekend, even if they do eventually end up winning the league at the end of the 2015/2016 season, history will not reflect kindly on Deila, unless he can see out any further turmoil and get the fans back on-side for the rest of the season.
It’s not just about winning at Parkhead. It’s about the attitude and playing The Celtic way that fans are left feeling when they leave East-end of Glasgow, regardless if the team Wins, Loses or Draws.