“Outburst”, “rant” and “lashing out” are just three of the terms The Clumpany saw used by media outlets shortly after Ronnie Deila’s press conference today. To be fair, some of the subsequent coverage hasn’t been as lurid as the initial tweets suggested it might – for example this piece in the Record.
Yes, he did use the word “jealousy” and said that “everyone around Celtic wants to hurt us and find negative things and that is something this club has to cope with all the time“. But the continuing suggestion that it was a ‘rant’ is complete nonsense.
However, I strongly recommend you watch these 7 minutes on the STV website, for there is no substitute for actually seeing what Ronny said, and how he said it.
He was asked about ex-players who had commented on what he ‘needed’ to achieve this season, and responded with two sustained, measured monologues about the type of club Celtic is, and its place in Scottish and European football. He acknowledged that Celtic are a selling club and outlined all the challenges that this entails, making clear that this meant building carefully and gradually, and having setbacks. Setbacks which critics leap upon relentlessly. He argued that they did so from a position of not fully understanding the challenge (and yes, sometimes from a bit of jealousy) but stated that ultimately he couldn’t care less.
He also pointed out that there is an enormous amount to be positive about and celebrate at Celtic given their success, and made it (uncomfortably?) clear that they continue to be the standard bearers for the Scottish game in Europe.
But because of this, and because “negative things sell well” Ronny argued that Celtic were liable to constant criticism and negativity. Ten years ago an Ibrox club would have been in a similar position, but given that the current one is in the Championship, they can lose to St Johnstone and it is not seen as such a big problem. For the avoidance of doubt, Ronny was most certainly NOT talking a pop at Warbo’s men!
You can argue that Ronny is actually irked by the criticism that has come his way. However, I would be more inclined to suggest he gets tired of media commentary that often starts from a negative position, as we saw earlier this month following Celtic’s win over Hamilton.
You can also argue that the things he said today gloss over recent issues such as recurring defensive howlers, player dissent and a dismal performance against Molde.
But what you cannot say is that today’s press conference was a rant, or a showcase for a manager who was ‘losing the plot’. It was articulate, intelligent, wide-ranging, and utterly realistic. It may have had a little anger underpinning it, but Ronny was in complete control of his thoughts, words, and demeanour. It was about as far removed from the vacuous sound bite-driven charades that usually pass for press conferences in British football as it is possible to get. It is perhaps, therefore, no wonder that the press pack was initially inclined to focus on the juiciest snippets! [You can almost imagine the internal whoops of joy when he mentioned The Warbmeister XI!].
Given the initial reports of the press conference, I started watching the clip with a sense of trepidation, but that disappeared almost immediately, and I ended up completely engrossed. It was really interesting and passionate stuff. If you had invited Ronny to come and speak at a conference about what it is like trying to manage Celtic in 2015 with all the constraints and demands, you wouldn’t have been disappointed.
Good on you Ronny.
Now, let’s have three points against Aberdeen, and a win against Molde please.
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