RONNY Deila has admitted his captain Scott Brown set a poor example by getting drunk four days before the League Cup final at Hampden.
But the Celtic manager believes Brown redeemed himself with his performance in leading his team to their 2-0 victory over Dundee United which completed the first leg of their bid to win the domestic treble.
Brown’s conduct overshadowed the build-up to yesterday’s showpiece occasion when he was photographed on a night out with friends in Edinburgh last Wednesday night, including images of him slumped on the pavement eating fast food.
The 29-year-old midfielder was not formally disciplined by Deila, who confirmed no club rules had been broken as the players were on a day off. But the Norwegian coach was concerned by the public image Brown’s behaviour presented. “This case is not a big one for me,” said Deila. “Scott was home at 10.30pm, although it looks like he was home at 6 in the morning. He was drinking, he had a day off the day after. I have no rules about that. I’ve said the players have to be fit and Scott Brown is the fittest player we have.
“But we have a reputation to take care of and the way the pictures appeared in the newspaper were nothing for him or me to be proud of. So we have to learn from this. When you play for Celtic everybody chases you and you don’t get the personal time. You have to always know what you are doing. This is something everybody has to learn from but, again, it was not a big issue for me. Scott was not happy about it but he didn’t do anything big or harmful for me. It’s not a positive example for youngsters though. But Broony has played 60 or 65 matches this year, he had a day off and wanted to be out with his friends.
“He didn’t do anything wrong as far as our rules are concerned. We will see if he learns in the future but he made up for it today – he played a very good game.”
Deila was thrilled by his first trophy success as Celtic manager in his debut season, having publicly set the treble as his target for the campaign.
“It is a great feeling,” he said. “It is good to get a good start when you are the manager in a big club such as Celtic and this was the first trophy we could win. We did it and you get an appetite from this. You want more and I am happy for the boys and proud of them. I think we put in a professional performance. You should really enjoy this moment.
“We have talked about the treble many times and it is a dream. It is so tough to do it, but it is possible and the dream is still alive. We have one trophy and we have to beat United again on Wednesday in the Scottish Cup quarter-final replay if we are to win another cup trophy.
“We should enjoy the moment but there is not going to be any nightlife tonight! The players will have a calm night. We will go back to the stadium and have a couple of beers and enjoy it, but it will be early to bed before midnight and be ready for training tomorrow at 1pm. For the coaching staff, the curfew is a little bit longer.
“But you can never rest on what you have done before at this club. I said to the players as well that last year is forgotten tomorrow. You must always be ahead and achieve new things. Today I am happy, today I am going to celebrate we have a trophy no one can take away from us. But tomorrow we have to start thinking about Wednesday again.
“Now we have a smell of success and I can assure you I want to win that Scottish Cup as well. Wednesday is an important game for us.”
As much as he enjoyed his maiden trophy win, Deila did not hide his irritation at the conduct of substitutes John Guidetti and James Forrest who clashed angrily as they fought over who was taking the late penalty kick Celtic were awarded.
Forrest won the battle but saw his poor effort from the spot saved by United goalkeeper Radoslaw Cierzniak. “Both of the players who were on penalties, Leigh Griffiths and Kris Commons, were off the park when we got it,” said Deila. “It looks like it was as case of who was the first to the ball, but I don’t like that they argue about that. It is stupid. That is not the team spirit I want. We have to learn from the situation. There is a lot of emotion in these situations and strikers, especially, want to score goals. Again, we have to put the team in front of ourselves. It is something we have worked on all the time and you learn from through experience. This was not about team spirit today. It was individual thinking and I don’t want anything to do with that.”
Deila, meanwhile, insisted he was unaware of any move by Celtic to sign outgoing Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard on loan from LA Galaxy next January. According to a report yesterday, Celtic would be interested in a short-term move for the 34-year-old who has ruled out joining another English Premier League club. “That’s a new thing for me, we will see,” said Deila. “That’s almost a year away until that time and we have to take it day by day instead. But Gerrard is a hero. He is a Liverpool star and best player of all time. It’s a good name, but we will see if that’s possible in January. It’s something you know more about than me.”