Deila sets a Celtic target of 13 titles in a row

RONNY Deila says he wants to emulate Rosenborg in his native Norway and win 13 league titles in a row with Celtic in what would be a period of unprecedented domination in the Scottish game.

Deila believes Celtic can dominate in the fashion that Rosenborg did. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Deila believes Celtic can dominate in the fashion that Rosenborg did. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Rosenborg, who hail from the Norwegian town of Trondheim, enjoyed a remarkable run between 1992 and 2004 during which time they were untouchable domestically and also qualified for the Champions League eight seasons in a row.

Deila, who won a league title in Norway with Stromsgodset and could wrap up the Scottish championship this weekend, envisages a period in which Celtic can enjoy similar superiority.

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Asked if Celtic could match Rosenborg and win 13 consecutive titles, the Parkhead manager replied: “Everything is achievable. So that is the dream, to keep on winning, winning, winning. And to go to the Champions League and make Scottish people proud of Celtic.”

A victory for Celtic at home to Dundee tomorrow coupled with Aberdeen failing to beat Dundee United on Saturday would see the Glasgow side win a fourth consecutive championship.

The Norwegian, yesterday named in the four-man shortlist for the PFA Scotland manager of the year award, arrived from Stromsgodset last summer.

Deila accepts the conditions exist for Celtic to dominate in the fashion that Rosenborg did in the 1990s and the early years of the millennium, but believes the possibility of such a one-team league is something to 

He also pointed to the fact that Rosenborg have long since relinquished the unassailable position they enjoyed under head coach Nils Arne Eggen as evidence that pre-eminent positions are not permanently sustained by spending power that is distinct from football performances.

Responding to suggestions that his ambitions for a decade more of Celtic dominance represented a gloomy outlook for the rest of the Scottish game, Deila said: “If you look around the world, you can see that many big clubs are not doing well. Rosenborg are not the team they were. When their coach quit, they lost all their money and suddenly they are not so big any more.

“He [Eggen] always said we don’t think about money. We think about performance. If you perform the money comes. You have to perform. The money comes to Celtic because they have been to the Champions League a lot of times and they get bigger and bigger. But if you start doing bad work, you lose your money and you lose your advantage over the others.

“We just have to continue developing what we are doing and having consistency in what we are doing.

“Always when you make a transition – like Celtic have done from Neil [Lennon] to me – there will be a year that is unsure. So if you can get over 90 points and win the league then we have done well.

“‘It was hard for the other clubs when Rosenborg were winning their 13 titles, of course, because they were so consistent. But we were also very proud of them because they were in the Champions League for eight years in a row [and in 11 years out of 13]. That was a big, big achievement. Eggen always said it wasn’t about money. It was about getting the best out of your players and finding consistency in your work. He was an unbelievable coach. And someone I look up to.”

Deila said it should not dismay challengers Aberdeen that he expects them to be looking up at Celtic from a more distant position next season. He is determined his team will be stronger next season.

“Improvement is why I do this but the others can get better as well,” Deila said. “If Aberdeen gets better, we get better and the other teams get better, then the league gets better. Maybe then we don’t get more points but we have better football matches. We will try and measure how we can get better in different areas.”

Summer arrivals and departures will impact heavily on Deila’s ability to raise standards. The Celtic manager was yesterday coy on reports that he could be interested in Dundee United’s young Scottish defender John Souttar, as well as their top scorer, the Turkish striker Nadir Ciftci.

“[How many] we sign will depend on how many leave, but it’s very good and important to get new faces into the dressing room. New ideas, new faces,” he said. “The lists will keep growing but I don’t want to speak about other players. When it’s ready I will tell you. We have opportunities around the world and to be invited to Celtic is a big achievement. We need to find the right player and if it’s a Scottish player that will make me delighted.”

Celtic signed midfielder Stuart Armstrong and winger Gary Mackay-Steven from United in the mid-season transfer window but the combined fee of around £2 million was not enough to prevent some rancour between the United support and the board.

Asked directly about United perhaps being under pressure not to sell to Celtic again, Deila replied: “It is up to them.

“I think they know what price they want for the players and they have to think if they need money or not. But I don’t think too much about that.”

He added: “It is always tough for smaller clubs to lose players but they also bring a lot of money into the club.”