Celtic, Media, Scottish Football, SPFL

Ronny Deila: “No One Died”


“Keep away with your negativity”
Good Afternoon (and please Vote Clumpany!).

Yesterday’s Hamilton v Celtic game wasn’t one for the purists. In fact it was one for the masochists.

The really committed ones. 

But three points were collected (having gone a goal behind), less than three days after a rollercoaster European game. Furthermore, the gap to Aberdeen was reduced to one point, and Griffiths’ headed goal will remain in the memory come the end of the season.  

I am a big fan of the way Griffiths has applied himself. He has done what Ronny has asked, kept his head down, worked hard, and keeps coming up with the goals. I wasn’t overwhelmed with excitement when Celtic signed him, but I now have to doff my sombrero to him. 

If I really cared about international football, I might be annoyed that he doesn’t get more of a chance for Scotland. It would be nice to see him get the recognition he deserves right now. But Scotland’s loss is Celtic’s gain.

But back to yesterday’s ‘brutal’ game… If you wanted an illustration of the old cliché  that “Champions find a way to win”, yesterday was Exhibit A.

However, to witness BT Sport’s attempted post-match interview of Ronny, you would have been forgiven for thinking that some major calamity had unfolded. Adopting the kind of tone you might use when asking how someone is getting on following a family bereavement, the interviewer immediately focused on the reasons for the Hamilton goal. This was of course down to another defensive howler, although Kurtaj deserves quite a bit of credit for a good finish.

Here is a link to the interview.

Clearly journalists can (and should) ask any reasonable question they like. Regular readers will know that The Clumpany is no fan of preventing journalists from doing their job – especially banning them. But equally, the interviewee has the right to respond in the way they see fit. Which Ronny did. And I have to say that I have some sympathy for him. 

As I have frequently pointed out, all too often the starting point for some of the Scottish sports media is to focus on the negative rather than the positive. It is a crazy default position to adopt and is in stark contrast to the relentlessly upbeat English football commentariat. 

The droolathon that is English football journalism can be nauseating, but it doesn’t talk the game down! And – funnily enough – that may just help them to attract readers, viewers and listeners.

Now there’s a thought…

And yes the negativity in parts of the Scottish MSM extends to its coverage of Celtic. I am not going to engage in a discussion of ‘biased anti-Celtic coverage’, as there is already plenty of that elsewhere on the Internet. 

However, I will note how easy it is to recall numerous instances of parts of the media giving the impression that Celtic are ‘in crisis’. And we can all think of individuals in the media who have called Ronny’s abilities into question on an almost weekly basis. 

But there is no crisis. The cold hard facts are that 

  • Ronny won two trophies in his first season, wasn’t far off a third, and got the club out of a Europa League group and into an enthralling tie against Inter.
  • This season, Celtic are still in four competitions, with more league points than this time last year, and are in a decent (but should be better) position in a tough Europa League group. 

Yes, the board’s signing policy remains [*cough*] ‘curious’, and the exits from the Champions League have been very disappointing indeed (putting it mildly). Especially this year’s, when a two-goal lead was squandered against Malmo, and the team put in an abysmal second-leg ‘performance’. Celtic and Ronny got stick over it, and quite a lot of it was well-deserved.

They also deserve criticism for recurring defensive problems which have plagued the team this season. This needs sorting out, and people will rightly keep highlighting the problems until they are resolved.

But I can understand Ronny’s frustration at the opening question from BT Sport yesterday, and the manner in which it was asked. As he himself suggested, there are so many positives to talk about, and it would be great to be invited do so once in a while. 

From Ronny’s perspective, his side had got another three points after a tiring but decent performance in Europe. That couldn’t have seemed like anything other than good news as BT Sport shoved the microphone in his face.

So fair play to him for taking the initiative and listing the ‘good news’. There’s plenty of it about. 

No one has died. Least of all Celtic or their season.


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