Premiership first round review: Celtic

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THE best and worst of Celtic’s season thus far. Included is praise for John Guidetti, concerns over Stefan Scepovic and a defence of Ronny Deila.

Best player

Celtic manager Ronny Deila. Picture: SNS

Celtic manager Ronny Deila. Picture: SNS

The easiest part of this list by some distance. John Guidetti has been something of a revelation at Celtic Park with his goals, character and willingness to engage with the support being widely welcomed by the Celtic faithful. The Swedish striker’s rate is quite spectacular and despite the fact that he is unavailable for selection in the Europa League he has still managed to average a goal a game in domestic competitions. His free-kicks are fast gaining their own reputation and he could easily write his name into the folklore of the Scottish Champions if he is to be retained after his initial loan period.

Worst player

It’s difficult to single out any one player for the tag of the ‘worst’ but if someone has to be singled out I’m going to say Jo-Inge Berget. The Norwegian international looked to be settling in nicely and even managed to score a double in the 6-1 route of Dundee United. Despite that fact he has looked lethargic, uninterested and simply not up to the standards of Celtic. Time will tell but I’d stick my neck out and say the midfielder, on loan from Cardiff, won’t be offered a full-time contract any time soon.

Biggest surprise

The last few times Celtic were in transitional period between managers, European football has been a time to forget for Celtic fans. Although you may say that about this term once again you can only praise Ronny Deila and his team for the way they have went about the Europa League so far. Sitting atop a group with some decent sides in it and our highest ever points total after three games in a group stage things are looking good. If you’d have said we’d be top of the group on the cusp of a last 32 spot after that night against Maribor I’d probably have laughed in your face.

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Biggest disappointment

The lack of trust in Ronny Deila. If you’re a foreign manager coming into a side like Celtic you are going to be under the microscope at every moment. Although the failure to qualify for the Champions League group stage (twice) was made into a big deal, there has to be allowances made. Fans are a fickle bunch and I’ve been annoyed on more than one occasion in the lack of patience and the feeling of the divine right to win. Things take time and they are coming together now.

Best team performance

A toss up between two games but the 6-1 win against Dundee United trumps the 5-0 win over Ross County on the basis of the opponents. Goals from defenders, midfielders and attackers against, in my view, the second best side in the league under the best young manager in Scotland, put a big smile on my face. We’ve yet to really hit that type of stride again but it was brilliant to see on the day.

Worst game

Celtic 0-1 Maribor. This hurt in many ways, not least the fact that we missed out on competing on Europe’s biggest stage and outshining teams from England again. This loss was unexpected and the manner in which it happened gave everyone a much needed reality check. Coming back to Paradise with an away goal was a great result in my eyes but the inability to score against a team of Maribor’s quality and stature was demoralizing and pretty hard to take.

Most worrying contract

This is a hard one because of the amount of loan signings that we have acquired over the past few months so it, reluctantly, will have to be Stefan Scepovic.

Although he seems to be a player, chipping in just two goals so far it is hard not to point him out. A four-year-deal could go two ways and I hope that he picks up some more goals over the next month or so and proves me wrong.

Manager’s performance

As I have eluded to earlier, many fans don’t seem to have the patience or willingness to let anyone be their own man. I like Ronny Deila. He seems to be his own man and is getting his ideas into the team of players who are competing across four fronts. The job is a massive step up for him and if we win our game in hand we go top of the league, we’re almost in Europe after Christmas and still in both cup competitions. I’d say that’s a job well done so far.

Written by Paul Fisher for The Terrace Scottish Football Podcast website.

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