Ronny Deila has expressed his appreciation of Dermot Desmond’s public declaration of support for him as Celtic manager and says the Irish billionaire provides him with the inspiration to succeed in the job.
On his annual visit to take part in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews, Celtic’s biggest shareholder Desmond gave one of his rare media interviews.
I feel very confident Ronny will continue to improve all the teams at CelticDermot Desmond
In addition to his well-worn insistence that Celtic and Rangers will one day ply their trade in English football, the 65-year-old financier delivered a glowing testimony of Deila’s ability to oversee progress and future success for the Scottish champions.
Desmond was instrumental in appointing the previously little-known Norwegian coach as Neil Lennon’s successor as manager in the summer of 2014. Despite Deila having now suffered two successive failures to reach the group stage of the Champions League, he retains the confidence of Desmond who will be at Celtic Park tonight for the Europa League Group A fixture against Fenerbahce.
“I’m very confident in Ronny’s future at Celtic,” said Desmond. “He has got two trophies under his belt and I think we can see from the good work he’s done a lot of the players have come on.
“I think we’re a better team than we were last year. Not getting into the Champions League was a blow to the whole club and supporters. Leaving aside the financial elements of it, we want to be competing with the best for our fans and it’s disappointing that we didn’t get through.
“But we’ll endeavour to get there next year. I feel very confident that Ronny will continue to improve all the teams at Celtic.” Those words were understandably music to Deila’s ears but did not come as a surprise to the Celtic manager who feels he shares a mutual understanding of the club’s situation with both Desmond and chief executive Peter Lawwell.
“I talk with him a lot,” said Deila. “He’s a very, very intelligent guy who knows what he wants. I’m happy that he can see that we’re doing good things here, of course.
“He wants results like everyone else. He understands that there is a way to do that and that we are progressing.
“He sees when the team is playing well or not playing well. He’s very honest, he says it as it is. He understands football, which is a positive as well.
“It’s always important to feel trust and it’s great to feel it from Dermot and from Peter as well. It gives you confidence and belief and a lot of energy to work.
“Dermot is like every leader should be. He’s very honest about what he sees and what he thinks. He asks questions about the next move and what we will do. It’s good to get you to reflect on what you are doing. It’s a very good relationship.
“I try to speak to him once a week, but he is a busy man. But we usually speak at least once every fortnight.”
Deila admits it was a low point when he had to speak to Desmond in the immediate aftermath of Celtic’s Champions League elimination against Malmo five weeks ago.
“I wasn’t worried, you can never be that,” he said. “But I was very disappointed. The worst thing I know is to let people down. It’s the hardest thing in life. That’s why it’s tough to be a manager.
“It makes you feel like you’ve let down so many people.”
But Deila insisted he is on the right track. He added: “I know what I am and I will stand for my values and my way of thinking in football and leadership.
“So far we’ve done a lot of good things but we’ve also made mistakes. That will always happen. But it’s the setbacks which sometimes make you better.”