Ronny Deila has built his Celtic brand on something every successful business needs – hard work.
Because that’s what Celtic are, a business.
Off the pitch Peter Lawwell runs a tight ship with a major emphasis on being self-sustainable as the climate gets tougher. In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s getting harder for anyone outside the inflated Premier League bubble to really compete at the highest level year in, year out.
On it, Deila has finally built a team capable of competing domestically and in Europe after embracing his fitness-first attitude to playing football. I’ll stop short of calling him a football visionary like many do. He swept into Celtic Park telling everyone who would listen that the players need to be at their fittest to be in his team. Maybe it’s just me, but does that not go without saying? They are professional athletes after all.
What’s more impressive about Deila’s last few months in the job is the style in which his side are now winning games. Pressing from the front, you can’t help but think the Norwegian has a quasi-Barcelona on his hands. Celtic don’t wait for the mistakes, they go get them with a high-intensity approach to winning the ball back followed by fast, incisive moves forward in search of goals. Deila has modernised the Hoops in a league which is quickly falling behind the times.
And that’s why I believe John Guidetti – one of the goalscorers in Celtic’s 3-0 win over Dundee United on Saturday – has no future at the club.
By Jonny Boyle – @beanroll
He moved to Glasgow in controversial style – signing days after the summer transfer deadline because of paperwork problems – and it’s been the Guidetti show ever since. If he’s not making headlines for funny FIFA-inspired celebrations, he’s talking about scoring hat-tricks against Rangers or sulking over not being allowed to take a penalty.
There’s been no doubt some of his antics have contributed to the general feel-good factor which has engulfed the club for much of the season. His rap duet with Virgil van Dijk is a personal highlight for me and some of his comments in the media have been great value.
Guidetti’s non-celebration at the weekend brought more questions over his future at Celtic after talks on a deal to tie him up stalled earlier in the season and recent comments about a potential switch to Feyenoord.
Despite all of that, he’s still liked by the Hoops support and many would be happy to see him in green and white after the summer. But are they desperate to see the man who’s hit 14 goals this season stay?
I believe that should be purely down to whether he fits into Deila’s starting eleven or not – and he’s a square peg in a round hole. Guidetti may know his way to goal and arguably links the play better than any other striker in the Celtic squad, but he’s not fast or strong enough to lead the line on his own.
And if there’s one thing Deila has proven so far as Celtic manager, it’s that he won’t abandon his principles under pressure. He plays a strict 4-2-3-1 and at the moment you struggle to see who would drop out of the team to make for the change of formation Guidetti needs.
The Manchester City loanee needs players around him to shine – and that includes a strike partner.
I’ve absolutely no doubt that Guidetti would shine if paired with the pacey Leigh Griffiths, whose game is all about playing on the shoulder, stretching the defence to allow the players behind space to put chances on a plate for him to finish.
But with Stefan Johansen showing he’s the creative force to build a team around and consistently impressive displays from Kris Commons, Anthony Stokes, Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven out wide, Deila has more than enough justification for cramming as many midfield players into his team as lawfully possible.
Similarly, Nir Bitton and Scott Brown in sitting midfield aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
So where does that leave Guidetti? Out of the team and a waste of some considerable money.
If Celtic do tie him down to a deal then it will have to be a lucrative one given his previous wage at Manchester City and the interest from a number of other clubs.
If there’s anything the sight of £2.2million summer signing Stefan Scepovic wasting away on the bench proves, it’s that Deila can’t afford to make another expensive signing only to leave him out of the team.
There’s no question Guidetti can play and score goals – he’s simply not the striker to build a team around like all great managers should.
And if Deila wants to be a great, I’m certain he’ll know that.