Opinion: Celtic failing to win the Scottish Premiership is edging closer to a reality

Opinion: Celtic failing to win the Scottish Premiership is edging closer to a reality

WHERE do I even start? Wednesday night was a bad night for Celtic right across the board.

Before the Aberdeen game kicked off I had seen many people Tweet they would take a draw. A draw? I thought ‘no chance – a win is a must for Celtic especially after Sunday’s embarrassing defeat to Ross County’.

Little did we know what was about to hit us at Pittodrie. Ronny Deila’s job has been in question for a long time now. I personally thought his job was hanging by a thread after our carry-on in Europe, and now that final thread could finally be about to snap.

Before I start off on this rant – credit must go to Aberdeen – as they fully deserved to take the three points and I think just a 2-1 win for them wasn’t any sort of reflection on how well they played, it certainly could have been more.

The first 20 minutes didn’t make bad viewing for Celtic fans as the team were dominant in possession. Aberdeen’s first goal in the 31st minute was completely against the run of play and there was no stopping that Jonny Hayes strike from 25 yards.

But Celtic suddenly went all over the place and looked unlikely to equalise, and then came the killer blow. The 37th minute saw another goal for Aberdeen from Simon Church, who marked his debut in memorable fashion, scoring from close range to make it 2-0.

Aberdeen were by now in complete control of the game and there was no way Celtic were coming back. Leigh Griffiths did manage to find the back of the net in injury-time but it was celebrated in silence from the away supporters who had made the journey.

So where do we go from here? Having sat back and read some of the comments across social media after the match I am finding that more fans are speaking out, nobody with a real interest in Celtic Football Club can be happy with the current state of affairs.

Some might say ‘but we are still top of the league’ but, I’m sorry, for me a measly three points ahead of Aberdeen is not good enough. When you take in the resources Celtic have compared to all other clubs in the league it is very worrying. Again, credit to Aberdeen who are right on Celtic’s heels and look set to chase them right to the death.

Another common argument made by Bhoys fans is that ‘it’s great competition for the league’.

Likewise, I don’t see this as a plus as for Aberdeen to be able to challenge Celtic it means we have slipped even further than I thought. Not long ago I wrote that some fans wouldn’t see the issues brewing at Celtic until they came close to losing the league. I didn’t actually expect that to happen, but we are now in real danger of it becoming a reality.

Although I still believe Celtic will win the league, the fact we are discussing the possibility that they might not should have fans asking questions.

I have witnessed two different types of supporters over the past few months; some who won’t have a bad word spoken about the club, who say you’re ‘not a real fan’ once you comment on how poor we have played.

The second are the ones who can see there are issues from top to bottom.

I’m not out to just attack Ronny Deila. In fact, I would love nothing more than for him to do well, as Celtic supporters I’m sure we would all agree? But since Europe I have lost faith in him.

Celtic manager Ronny Deila [Picture: Getty] Time up? Celtic manager Ronny Deila [Picture: Getty]
My confidence in this side is gone. Under Martin O’Neill, Gordon Strachan or even Neil Lennon, if we went down by two goals I would in my heart of hearts believe that we could turn it around or at least grab a draw. Now, once a team so much as equalises, I have no faith whatsoever that we can even hold on for a point.

Granted, it’s easy to blame the manager, that’s why my issues actually start with the board and always have. Financially, Celtic are run excellently, something I applaud Peter Lawwell for.

Last year we saw the club get a complete new facelift outside the ground and, truth be told, Celtic Park now looks outstanding.

That’s all great work from those at the top, but where they fall short is with reinvestment in the team.

At times I feel I am being taken for a fool as a fan of the club. The board know Celtic supporters don’t just fall into following the club, it’s something you are born into for many of us.

As they say, it’s a way of life – it’s not like Chelsea or Manchester City, who have manufactured a worldwide fan base over the last few years due to success. Celtic will never have the money to rival such clubs financially, but we were once a team everyone feared playing against, with a worldwide fan base to go with it.

The board has done well to stable us financially during the tough times and for that I am grateful, but something has to change. Fans pay good money to watch this team. I myself travelled from Dublin to the game in Hampden Park last Sunday; I sat in the cold and rain and watched Celtic dumped out of the cup in embarrassing fashion.

Obviously, I would love Celtic to win every game, but that’s not a reality. I do, however, hope to see some sort of performance from the lads from kick-off to the final whistle – something we haven’t seen from a large number of players in this squad.

If you were to ask me should Ronny be sacked, I would say yes.

One of the big questions is who could replace him if he were to go. There are plenty of options, but we’d need Lawwell out of the way to avoid him dictating every move.

Martin O'Neill, left, with counterpart Michael O'Neill [©INPHO/Morgan Treacy] Michael O'Neill, right, has been touted as a potential replacement for Deila [©INPHO/Morgan Treacy]
Celtic is a great club for any manager to come to. I don’t just say that because I’m a fan; I say it because of what it offers – the chance of regular European football being the big factor. Mind you, with the dire performances in Europe this season, anyone that was to come in wouldn’t have much of a challenge to try and top that.

As I said a few weeks ago, only a treble would save Ronny this season. That’s now impossible while there are even doubts over the league title.

This season hasn’t been good enough and even supporters with the darkest tinted green specs on would have to admit that.