Today I’ve read one of the most ludicrous articles yet published on Pedro Caixinha’s departure from Ibrox. In it, Ewan Murray trots out utter nonsense about how Caixinha’s players didn’t know how the Scottish game worked.
As other examples he threw in Ian Cathro, Paul Le Guen … and Ronny Deila.
He is not alone in this. Other writers are saying the same.
They are wrong.
In Murray’s article, all three were accused of not understanding how the game here is played, and of playing players unsuited to our version of the sport. It also suggested that Sevco’s job is not a poison chalice. Ha! We’ll see what the “quality” of the candidates is like.
The general point of the article is baloney, I’m afraid.
I understand that some of the hacks will scramble to rewrite history in the aftermath of Caixinha getting the bag. I understand that others will try to put the best possible spin on Sevco’s managerial hunt. But Murray is a Hearts fan, so this isn’t that. It reads, instead, like rank stupidity. Ronny Deila does not belong in that list, not least because he came within one shocker of a refereeing decision of delivering a treble and left here with two titles.
The point of Murray’s article, that “they all displayed a failure to understand what it takes to win games in Scotland” is patently nonsense.
Ronny Deila left Celtic with a 63% win ratio!
Does The Guardian actually pay him for writing this stuff?
His assertion about the roots of Brendan’s success is equally ridiculous; “because he was smart enough to instantly comprehend both the intensity attached to the Old Firm and the nuances of football north of the border. Players of specific physical and psychological state are fundamental.”
This understanding of the “intensity of the Old Firm” is just cobblers. The Celtic job has pressure attached to it, but it’s the pressure of striving to be all we can be. Issues affecting the other lot do not affect a Celtic manager one bit.
On top of that, Brendan made a handful of signings as Celtic boss, and the only one from this summer who’s not getting a game right now was last season’s best player outside of Celtic Park. Brendan’s team is comprised of 80% of that which Ronny Deila worked with.
I would take issue with his assertion that Ronny was a “left field appointment” as well.
Celtic knew exactly who Ronny Deila was, and what his qualities were. He came to Celtic having already been on our radar for an assistant’s job to Neil. He came with a winner’s pedigree; he had taken a wholly unfancied team to cup and league success in his native Norway.
And he was at Celtic at a time where we were clear favourites in the league.
That appointment did not represent a risk of any kind, and nor can it realistically be classed as a failure.
I notice that Mark Warburton isn’t on his list, and Warburton should be. He and Caixinha’s failures had the sum total of nil to do with not understanding how to play the Scottish game; it was because they utterly underestimated it.
They believed that lower league English dreck would be good enough to best our players. They believed a Sevco shirt had a talismanic quality that transformed bad players into good ones.
There is no magic formula to succeeding in Scotland.
Sevco, in the last three years, has appointed two managers who made nonsensical signings and believed that hype and playing in front of big crowds would make those players into world beaters. It didn’t take a genius to know that Joe Garner, who has never been a proven scorer in his career, would not score goals here.
It didn’t take a brain the size of a microwave to suss that guys like Dodoo and Waghorn would not cut it; their career paths prior to Ibrox told their own story.
Josh Windass continues to get a game, and media hype, in spite of looking to the all the world like exactly what he is; an Accrington Stanley player.
Caixinha’s signings have been deplorable; the Scottish media lapped them up because some of them had foreign names. I say again what I have before; had those players been bought by St Johnstone not a soul would have blinked because not a soul knew the first thing about any of them, save for Alves, and he is a player at the fag end of his career.
Scottish football is not about a certain physical type; that’s Gordon Strachan-esque rot he’s talking there, and the irony of this, of course, is that Murray was one of the guys who wrote, very eloquently, on why Strachan was talking rubbish. He accused the ex-Scotland boss of “using deflection” to explain away dire results … that’s exactly what Murray is doing here.
It is incredible to find him now flatly contradicting himself.
Small players have been succeeding in our game – and making their big clumsy brethren look ridiculous – for as long as I’ve been watching the sport.
It is not about “the mentality needed” either; it is stupid to suggest that players with the “will to win” can transform a team. Good footballers transform a team. Every player who walks out of the tunnel prior to a game wants to win.
Ronny did not fail because he did not have good footballers; I wrote at length during his time at the club about how whoever took over his job would have a great squad of players to work with. Ronny had a playing style that did not work for Celtic. It was hard to watch. It made no sense to the players. It lacked the killer instinct and ruthlessness of this one.
But Ronny Deila left here a winner. Pedro Caixinha leaves here a joke. To compare the two is to do an immense disservice to the Norwegian, who will be fondly remembered by our supporters long after the world has forgotten who the Portuguese is.
Ewan Murray is usually an intelligent and thoughtful writer; how disappointing it is to read such sloppy work from him. It is lazy, incompetent, factually incorrect and full of suppositions not supported by the least evidence.
I expect that from The Record, not from a quality publication.