Ronny Deila won’t be distracted by ‘circus’ around Celtic

Celtic manager Ronny Deila points the way in training as his squad prepare for their weekend trip to Rugby Park. Picture: Ross Brownlee/SNS Group

Celtic manager Ronny Deila points the way in training as his squad prepare for their weekend trip to Rugby Park. Picture: Ross Brownlee/SNS Group

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Only time will tell whether Ronny Deila can come to be regarded as a successful Celtic manager. But it is already beyond doubt he is one of the most unflappable individuals ever to hold the role.

Many in his profession would be seething at the manner in which speculation over his future at the club has been articulated in various quarters over the past few days.

It has now reached the stage where currently unemployed managers such as Malky Mackay and David Moyes, pictured, have spoken openly about the prospect of taking over at Celtic, while even Deila’s immediate predecessor in the job, Neil Lennon, has been linked with a possible return following his departure from Bolton.

The Norwegian, however, is happy to leave others to decide whether such talk is disrespectful. He merely greets it with a shrug of his shoulders and regards it as validation of just how prized his position remains. With the possibility of a Scottish Premiership and Scottish Cup double this season still concentrating his mind, Deila insists he will not allow himself to be sidetracked by what he describes as the “circus” surrounding any Celtic manager.

“What can I say about others talking about it?” he said. “That it is not an attractive job? Of course it is an attractive job. That’s fine by me. I already know that and it’s why I am happy to be here.

“I have been in different positions before with things being said about me this season, whether it is Chris Sutton, John Hartson or whoever. I didn’t know about this week’s comments from others until I was told about them today.

“But I have other things to focus on. Getting two more trophies into Celtic is what all my focus is on.

“There is media everywhere who have to fill pages or have talk from different people. That’s what football should be, it can’t always be everyone saying the same things from the same A4 sheet of paper all the time. There has to be a little bit of a circus here – it’s okay.

“You learn from experience in this job, that’s for sure, but I have always had a belief in myself. It is about being balanced as a person. If I crack up about something, it is because something else is wrong in my life, not because of these things. I have other things to worry about.”

Deila was amused by a colourful analogy by one reporter who suggested those coveting his job were akin to suitors attempting to steal an attractive woman from his arm.

“They want to take my job and my lady?,” he laughed. “Listen, I know what you mean. The only thing you can do is make the lady happy so she wants to stay with you. You can’t do anything about others wanting her.

“It’s the same with the Celtic job. It’s about getting results, getting the best out of your players and carrying on. Everyone knows what I have to do to make Celtic happy this season – win the league and hopefully also the Scottish Cup.

“We are already planning for next season as well. We are talking about our pre-season which has to be right. We are going to do a lot of the same things as last summer, but try to do it even better.”

Deila’s quest to earn another shot at Champions League qualification continues tomorrow when Celtic face Kilmarnock at Rugby Park in a lunchtime kick-off.

They have already dropped points in two drawn games against the Ayrshire side this season and can ill afford another slip-up as they look to protect their current one-point lead over Aberdeen at the top of the Premiership. “In the away game at Kilmarnock at the start of the season we were not clinical enough,” said Deila. “We had a lot of chances and should have scored more goals. But in the home game against them, we played really badly and they deserved a point. So they were two very different games.

“But all the matches now are hard at this stage of the season. Whoever you are playing, they are fighting for something at the top or bottom of the table. We don’t take anything for granted against Kilmarnock, we know we have to be up for it and ready. But we are looking good after winning our last two games and I think we can be a handful for them on Saturday.”

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