In a moment of irony so perfect you couldn’t have scripted it, Ronny Deila was awarded with the SPL Manager of the Month accolade for January today, just 48 hours after we crashed out of the League Cup, and on the very day an Irish newspaper suggests his time at Parkhead is nearing the end.
Deila deserved the award.
There’s no doubt about that at all.
Our form over January was pretty damned good, and had led to a lot of people speculating that perhaps we’d turned a corner, only for all the old weakness to resurface at the weekend and at the worst possible time.
I said after the 8-0 win over Hamilton that I was sitting firmly on the fence, refusing to view it as more than just a freakishly good result … but it was hard not to feel a pang of optimism at the way we so casually overwhelmed them.
We take a step forward and then a step back.
The award will come as no consolation to the Celtic boss, or to the fans who had to watch that miserable performance at the weekend, and it will not help the board if they’ve yet to come to a final decision about what to do with the Norwegian, who everyone agrees is a Bloody Nice Guy, but many now suspect doesn’t have the temperament or skills to be manager at our club.
Congratulations to him for it anyway, and if he picks up the accolade again next month I would be pretty pleased with that, as it means tomorrow night’s match must have gone well.
That one scares the Hell out of me right now.
Of course, if rumours are to be believed the decision on his future has already been taken and Michael O’Neill, the former Shamrock Rovers and Brechin boss, and now manager of Northern Ireland, has already been quietly sounded out about the post.
Some will ask why, if that’s true, Ronny hasn’t already been dispatched. I asked that question myself in the earlier piece.
The answer might be a simple one.
Perhaps people at Celtic feel they owe him more than a shove out the door.
Perhaps they think a guy like Ronny is entitled to see out the season and try and depart on good terms with the fans, and with his CV intact.
I can fully understand that sentiment.
No-one likes to see a Celtic boss under pressure, except maybe the media, who plainly love it and have never placed an Ibrox incumbent under the same, and especially not when he’s such a genial fellow and one you instinctively want to do well.
I’ll tell you something, if the O’Neill rumour is true I hope to God we’ve already told Ronny that he’s going, because something would stink if we were making moves behind his back.
I’m pleased he has won this award.
I hope he wins a couple more of them as we head towards the end of the season.
I also hope he leaves us when it’s done, for his sake as much as ours.
Because he deserves better than all this, because he is a good bloke and although out of his depth here I can’t, and won’t, hold that against him as a man.