Pressure is building around Celtic’s Ronny Deila

Celtic FC is currently positioned at the top of the Scottish Premiership League but even though they are leading the way and are on their way of securing their 5th successive domestic league title, things aren’t all great for the manager of the squad, Ronny Deila who is being rumored on getting sacked if negative results arrive within the next few weeks or months.

Ronny Deila and his men have only suffered 2 losses in their opening 20 league matches which is an impressive record but even though there has only been a few slip ups, it has been enough for the rumors to emerge claiming that Deila might be on his way out of Celtic but this is mainly due to their early exit from the Europa League.

The domestic league run of Celtic FC is so far going impressively and they are the favorites of defending their Scottish Premiership title but things didn’t go so well for them in the UEFA Europa League as they were knocked out after having sustained consecutive defeats against Molde and Ajax and eventually drawing with Fenerbahce in their last Europa League match which resulted with the Scottish champions being unable to make it past the group stages.

Celtic FC is a club that has consistently been able to compete in the Champions League and even though they might not be at the same level as Europe’s biggest clubs, the Scottish outfit still show their worth in the prestigious competition and having sustained such an early exit from the UEFA Europa League is a huge surprise and it’s a disappointing thing to see as their fans watched Celtic struggle in the Europa League as they failed to win a single match and finish at the bottom of Group A with 3 points. Continue reading

Arsenal linked with van Dijk

All signs are pointing towards the January transfer window being a very  busy one for the Scottish side Celtic FC as players of the club have lured the attention of clubs around Europe including: Arsenal and Bolton Wanderers.

The Premier League club Arsenal was recently linked with the 23 year old Dutch centre-back of Celtic FC. Arsene Wenger is eager to boost his defensive options and one of the players that he has set his sights on is Virgil van Dijk.

The experienced midfielder Kris Commons is another player who might be transferred in January or at the end of the current season. The contract of Commons will expire when the current season reaches its end. Neil Lennon is coach of Bolton Wanderers and he has already voiced his intention in signing Commons from Celtic.

It has not been announced as to how much money will Neil Lennon be allowed and willing to spend in order to sign his January transfer target, Kris Commons but the boss of Celtic is confident that he and his assistants at Celtic are going to try everything in order to keep his star players.
“It’s still quite a long time until the window is open, so there’s going to be rumors every week but we want to keep our best players and that is what we will be going for. We want to keep those who are performing and we know are going to be important, then add other players so we can progress.” Celtic’s Ronny Deila told the media.

Ronny Deila wants to keep his star players in the squad but the manager also said that anything can happen as the main objective of the coach is to increase the quality of the team. The injection of cash that could bring in selling some of his players can also help Deila in signing some of his own targets in January and solve some of the weaknesses that Celtic has been suffering from recently.

Celtic To Play In Europa

Celtic were recently knockout of the Champions League final leg of qualifying matches, which sees the miss out on the group stages for yet another season. The 1-0 defeat at the hands of Swedish club Maribor meant that Celtic will be playing in the Europa league. This is a huge blow for new manager Ronny Deila, who will always be measured against his predecessor Neil Lennon. Lennon managed to take Celtic into the last 16 stage of the Champions League before being knocked out by Juventus. Even Lennon has been unable to match this achievement of a few years ago.

Deila’s managerial credibility as came under intense questioning even at the second round of the qualifying when Celtic were knocked out at the expense of Polish club Legia Warsaw. However, Celtic were reinstated back into the competition at the expense of Legia Warsaw, who were found to have fielded an ineligible player in the second leg of the 3-0 win. Deila says that Celtic fans may have to get used to the Europa league because the Scottish club are no longer a top club in European football. The lack of Champions League means that Celtic will struggle to attract players in a league that does not have much competition due to the absence of Rangers.

“We did not lose because of the defending, we lost because we did not create anything. We hope we can stand in the same position next year with a whole other feeling than I have right now. The first half was not good enough. In the second half we were more aggressive and had more chances. We need to have more tempo on the ball, more movement. That’s the job, it has to start now. In the end there’s only one thing to say – we have not been good enough, and we have not deserved to go to the Champions League,” said Deila.

CELTIC CROWNED AGAIN

Bayern Munich claimed themselves as the kings of Germany after winning the Bundesliga and despite having more than 4 matches left to be played in the season, it made no difference.

Juventus are clear favorites on winning the Italian league and it continues going on for some parts in Europe with some specific teams claiming dominance over their nearest rivals and this is also the case with Celtic. Continue reading

NO COMPLACENCY

The manager of Celtic FC, Neil Lennon, has said that his players shouldn’t get complacent after having won the league title. He wants them to continue playing in the ruthless manner.

The Celts have absolutely blown away their opponents in the ongoing Scottish Premier League. They have already become the champions and they still have to play 7 more games. That tells a thing or two about the way they have performed this season.

Normally when the teams win the title so early, it’s become a bit hard for them to keep themselves motivated for the remaining part of the season, but, one thing that can keep the Celts motivated is the chance of setting a new record of securing the most number of points in a single season in the league.

The present record is also being held by Celtic. They had set that record way back in 2001-02 when they had managed to secure 103 points. But, they can easily go past that number this season if they maintain their form in the remaining matches.

Talking to the reporters about setting up new record, Lennon said, “If we do that, it will be great, but, the first target should be to get to 100. Then, we will see if we can get to 104 or not.”

“We can break the record of conceding the least number of goals as well.  Its 15 goals that we have conceded so far this season and the record is of 18 goals. So, we have a chance there as well.”

Celtic will be taking on Ross County on Saturday. They would like to continue their winning streak in that game. They have won their last 4 matches on the bounce and that too by big margins.

TO ENGLAND?

There has been constant talk of Scottish clubs being introduced into the English Premier league in order to improve the financial situation of the Scottish clubs.

The Premier league is one of the most watched leagues across the world and it generates a huge amount of money as television revenue. There is a vast difference between what the English clubs and the Scottish clubs receive as TV money. The only substantial TV money for Scottish clubs comes from the Champions League, which amounts to £ 30 million if they qualify for the group stages.

As a result, there has been talk of making the top Scottish clubs play in the English Premier league and one of the first participants is likely to be Celtic with their huge fan following. The proposal has also generated considerable amount of discontent, as it has led to the argument that other Scottish clubs will decline considerably if Celtic depart the Premier league. Celtic manager Neil Lennon, though, has stated that he will be one of the first persons to rejoice at the prospect of managing his club in the Premier league.

Lennon has done exceedingly well in the last few years and has even managed to take the club into the last 16 of the Champions league last season.

“The ideal scenario for me would be to manage Celtic in the Premier League but whether that will ever happen or not I don’t know. Maybe one day it will happen but at the minute we are content to keep going as we are. It’s just a nice thought. We all harbour ambitions to better ourselves and I’m no different from anyone else but I’ve got a big job on my hands at the minute. European football and winning championships is the driving force behind us,” said Lennon.

UNDEFEATED

Celtic continue on being undefeated so far in this season as they have played 20 matches and claimed 17 triumphs and 3 draws. The superb season the side of Neil Lennon is enjoying have given them a very comfortable spot at the top of the Scottish Premiership league with 54 points.

Neil Lennon praised the mental and physical strength of some of his players that have already played 35 games.

“Our performances have been fantastic. There are only a few clubs now in Europe unbeaten and we want to preserve that for as long as we can. That takes a lot of physical and mental strength and they have shown that in abundance’’.

“Some of our players have played 35 games already. That’s a season for some people and we’re not even out of December yet. We would have dropped points this time last year. There is more of a will to win about this year.

“At times it’s not pretty but you can’t always play silky football the way you’d like. You have to earn the right to play and sometimes you have to dig out a few results. But I always felt we were in control of the game but for that 10 or 15 minutes in the second half.”

Their latest encounter was against St.Mirren and even though the scoreboard displayed 0-0 during the 1st half, Celtic came back into the pitch to play the remaining 45 minutes of the match and scored 4 goals as they claimed their 9th consecutive triumph.

Even Zlatan Ibrahimovic of PSG has praised the work of Celtic as he claimed that any player would want to be in a club with such a big tradition and the Swedish giant stated that ending his career at Celtic would be a wise decision and choice for him to make.

STILL HOPING

Celtic’s hopes of advancing through the group stages of the Champions League are hanging by a thread as they are at the bottom of Group H and with 2 matches remaining they will need to win all the encounters which is scheduled to be against Ac.Milan and Barcelona.

Having only picked up 3 points out of the 4 matches played, it has not been the best of seasons for the Scottish club in the Champions League.

The situation is so dyer that Neil Lennon said that the dream of qualification will be an uphill battle.

“It is imperative that we beat Milan at Celtic Park if we are to have any chance of qualification. We were very flat in the first half and I think some players will have regrets because they were nowhere near their best and at this level you can’t have that.”

Celtic also announced the 3 year contract signed with Anthony Stokes as the Republic of Ireland international player has enjoyed a new lease of life under manager Neil Lennon this season following Gary Hooper’s summer departure to Norwich City.

The 25 years old forward managed to score 5 goals in 16 appearances for the club since signing from Hibernian back in 2010.

The signing was confirmed by Celtic’s twitter account.

“Celtic is delighted to announce that Anthony Stokes has today signed a new three-year contract with the club.”

Stokes added on the club’s official website: “I’ve been happy enough with the way it’s gone for me this season. I’d have liked a few more goals by now but that’ll come.

“We’re unbeaten in the league, we’ve been doing reasonably well in Europe and we need to get another couple of results now after that big win over Ajax. Overall, I’ve been delighted. I’m enjoying my football and I’m hoping this just helps me kick on’’.

PRESSURE IS ON

Pressure has increased on Celtic manager Neil Lennon after a couple of bad weeks. The team has slipped to the behind Inverness in the league title race, while they have also suffered a defeat against AC Milan in the Champions league. Things have just gone worse for manager Lennon after his team suffered a shock 1-0 defeat against Greenock Morton in the Scottish cup. Celtic were unable to beat the strugglers in the Championship after 90 minutes, while they conceded a goal in extra time to lose the match.

Lennon said after the match that he cannot criticise his players, who were extremely good. According to him, Celtic did everything apart from scoring the goal that was required to win the match. He has pointed out to the 26 corners that the club had along with a couple of goal-line clearances as well. After this exit, Lennon will have to wait at least one more year in order to get the chance to win the Scottish league cup. This remains as the only domestic trophy that he has not lifted as the Celtic manager. This was a first victory for Morton at Celtic Park for more than 30 years, while they had not beaten the Scottish giants since 1985 prior to this match.

“It’s easy to criticise the players and we did everything but score tonight. We had 26 corners, hit the post and had one cleared off the line. We didn’t take our chances and congratulations to Morton. Sometimes the rub of the green doesn’t go for you. I’ve got to give credit to Morton who defended heroically at times. I thought their goalkeeper played very well. Did we do enough to win the game? Yes, but we didn’t take our chances so, congratulations to Morton,” said Lennon after the match.

EXPECTATIONS

Celtic will be going into the new season with a lot of expectations especially after their brilliant campaign last time around. They managed to win a Scottish double after a long time, while also making it into the knockout stages of the Champions League. Manager Neil Lennon is aware that expectations are high going into the new season, but he is still remaining calm. Unlike in previous seasons, Lennon has said that he is not nervous like last season. Celtic were going into the new campaign last time around with a lot of nervousness in order to get into the Champions League group stages.

Even though they only recently faced such a similar qualifying match, Lennon has said that they are achievements of last season has enabled them to relax a little. Prior to last season, Celtic were not seen in this stage of the competition for four years. There was a lot of speculation that Lennon could leave Celtic for Premier league outfit Everton, but he has decided to stay at the Scottish club for the time being. For now, his thoughts will be on replacing star striker Gary Hooper, who was recently sold to Norwich city.

Hooper has been one of the best players for Celtic over the last few years and his presence will be sorely missed according to Lennon.

“I’ve been to hell and back in the last seven weeks trying to get this right. There is a fear factor and I lived with that. I’ve been thinking of the ramifications if we don’t go through, what it would mean for me, how I’d get through it and how I would get over it. I’m not as bad but I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing. I quite like it when I’m a bit on edge,” said Lennon.