If you heard Ronny Deila yesterday you may have detected something new in his voice; a kind of grim determination that hasn’t been there before.
In some ways this is a relief. In other ways not so much.
Finally, after months of appearing to be a guy sleepwalking towards the cliff-face, Deila has woken up to the peril he’s in and he’s swinging back. That’s the good part. The bad part is that he might well succeed in convincing people, himself included, that this change extends into other areas.
It doesn’t. He’s developing a thicker skin, but you know what? That’s not a good thing in the case of a guy who was already stubborn in refusing to adapt. It means he’s less prone to worrying about the critics. He’s less inclined to take advice, even the good sort.
What I see now is a guy who’s saying “This is what you’ve got. Take it or leave it. This manager’s not for turning.”
And que sera sera.
Yesterday’s first half was played in front of lots of empty seats, and from those who were in theirs emanated a morbid silence that was somewhat un-nerving.
It means that even those enthused enough to actually attend matches right now aren’t exactly excited at the prospect. More and more I get the impression that a lot of people are sitting with gloomy looks on their faces, enduring this more than enjoying it, because they’ve already paid for the tickets.
More and more I imagine how they’ll react when faced with the prospect of renewing them, under this management team, with the promise of more of this to come.
The idea of this management team taking us into Europe remains terrifying.
The idea of letting them gut out the squad they helped to bloat all to Hell is something that doesn’t fill me with a bit of confidence at all. I look at the players he’s brought in so far – and in particular the strikers – and I seriously worry about the “strategy” he’s following.
Performances have “stabilised”, which is a way of saying we’re winning games without being brilliant. The first half yesterday could have been worse than it was too; Inverness missed some chances that, had they taken even one of them, would have put us in big trouble.
Hearing him yesterday was like listening to Van Gaal lately, with the one difference being that Ronny Deila is on the verge of winning another title.
But that refusal to acknowledge that the product on the park is woeful, married with that growing certainty he seems to have that he is the man to take us forward, is a bad combination and one I trust our board, with their own innate sense of self-preservation, will recognise as such.
Right now, anyone thinking of a buying a new season ticket would do well to adopt a “wait and see” policy, right up to the Champions League qualifiers.
If this board takes the plunge and keeps Deila in place for those matches the risk will be enormous and people would be well justified in keeping their hands on their wallets until the verdict is in. Otherwise the future is more afternoons like yesterday; watching one dimensional football more often than not overwhelming inferior teams, waiting for a challenge and fearing it at the same time.
The old adage says “act in haste, repent at leisure.” A football season is a long time to sit nursing regret, amidst empty seats, and reading The Celtic View for “entertainment.”