CELTIC manager Ronny Deila says a lack of commitment and professionalism cost Tony Watt the chance to fulfil his potential with the Scottish champions.
After just a month working with the Celtic squad, Deila decided Watt was surplus to requirements and the 20-year-old striker was sold to Standard Liege for £1.2 million this week.
Despite a fairytale rise to prominence which included the winning goal against Barcelona in a Champions League match at Parkhead two years ago, Watt was unable to command regular first-team football with Celtic.
A lack of maturity was cited as the problem by Deila’s predecessor Neil Lennon, while Watt’s attitude was also criticised by Lierse coach Stanley Menzo during the player’s loan spell with the Belgian club last season. It is an assessment Deila has also reached.
“You have no chance to achieve your dreams if you don’t work and sacrifice everything,” said Deila. “No player does. It is about commitment.
“If you want to be a Celtic player, then you have to commit and you have to make that sacrifice. You have to live like a top athlete 24 hours a day, seven days a week and then you can reach the top.
“Tony hasn’t progressed as we wanted so far and I think that’s because he hasn’t been getting into the right culture, realising the consequences and changing his mentality.
“I think now it’s good for him to start all over and to be the professional he needs to be to get to the highest level that he can.
“It is no co-incidence that Celtic’s three players at the World Cup finals were Fraser Forster, Emilio Izaguirre and Efe Ambrose. They are top professionals. They stay after training, they go to bed at 10pm, they do everything perfect. The culture they have is the one we want to give the young Scottish players.”
Deila has replaced Watt in his squad with Norwegian international Jo Inge Berget on loan from Cardiff City, the 23-year-old registered in time to be available for tonight’s Champions League third qualifying round, first leg meeting with Legia Warsaw in Poland.
Fate has decreed that Berget’s reunion with Deila, for whom he played at Stromsgodset in Norway, will come against a Legia side coached by Henning Berg, the man who handed Berget his first break in senior football at Lyn Oslo.
“Henning played a big part in my development and Ronny got the best out of me as a player,” said Berget. “So it will be fun to be in a game with these two coaches. I’m not expecting to start the game but I’m ready to be involved if that’s what Ronny wants.”
Having made just two appearances for Cardiff City since joining them from Molde in January, Berget would welcome the chance to secure a permanent move to Celtic.
“I never really got the chance to play for Cardiff so I hope this is the opportunity to show everyone that I’m as good as I think I am,” added the attacking midfielder.
“There is an option for Celtic to buy me if things go well and I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to play here.”