Football Expert & Columnist
Ronny Deila joins Celtic: Andy Walker says it shows club ambitions
Sky Sports expert says Champions League qualification is vital
Last Updated: 06/06/14 2:39pm
Andy Walker says the appointment of Ronny Deila shows where Celtic’s ambitions lie at the moment.
The Scottish champions confirmed the appointment of Neil Lennon’s successor on Friday morning with the little-known Norwegian being handed the job on a 12-month rolling contract.
A number of high-profile candidates such as Roy Keane, David Moyes and Steve Clarke were linked with the post, but the Celtic board have opted for a 38-year-old with no managerial experience outside Norway.
Sky Sports expert Walker says he deserves a chance and will have a lot of pressure to deal with, but says it is an “underwhelming” choice for the supporters.
He told Sky Sports News: “This is a big lift for him because for him to get out of Norwegian football and get to a club like Celtic is a move that he could only dream about.
“But he will realise very quickly that there’s a great deal of pressure. He’ll have to handle that and handle strong players in the dressing room that will be looking at his every move to see what he can deliver.
“He will have to cope with a very demanding press up in Scotland and develop some relationships there.
I think it tells you where Celtic are at the moment and Ronny will be quite happy working with those working conditions, being used to a relatively low budget.
“It’s fresh and it’s exciting, but of course the initial reaction is that it’s underwhelming because when you saw the initial reaction the names were Roy Keane, Paul Lambert, David Moyes, Malky Mackay and Owen Coyle – who’d had a taste of the top level of English football.
“I think it tells you where Celtic are at the moment and Ronny will be quite happy working with those working conditions, being used to a relatively low budget.
“I wish him well.”
Walker says Deila will have little time to settle in as the club’s Champions League qualifying matches kick off in mid-July.
And Walker says immediate success in those games is essential to his tenure at Celtic Park.
He added: “He has to buy himself a bit of time initially. The Champions League qualifiers are just huge and Celtic, of course, will be favourites for those qualifiers.
“The last one might prove to be a bit tricky. No-one had heard of Shakhter Karagandy last season and it took a last-minute goal for Celtic to get through after they lost the first leg 2-0. They were skating on thin ice.
“In the end, to have Champions League football just gives everyone a bit of a lift in Scotland and certainly gives the Celtic supporters a chance to show the rest of Europe how well they can support their club.
“Ronny will have to realise that the Champions League qualifiers will, in effect, define his season and it’s going to be a long, long campaign if there is no Champions League football to look forward to.”