Deila knows all about ‘big mouths’

The Herald - Herald Sport - - FRONT PAGE - MICHAEL GRANT CHIEF FOOT­BALL WRITER

RONNY Deila ig­nores crit­i­cism of his man­age­ment and his team from ex-play­ers but has ad­mit­ted he was “a big mouth” him­self while work­ing in the Nor­we­gian me­dia.

For­mer Celtic striker Chris Sut­ton lac­er­ated the club’s dis­play after the 2-1 europa league group game win over Ro­ma­ni­ans as­tra Gi­urgiu on Thurs­day. in his role as a pun­dit on BT Sport he said they were not good enough and that striker Ste­fan Sce­povic was “pow­der­puff”.

Sut­ton has been out­spo­ken about Deila be­fore this sea­son and man­agers tend to bris­tle when they are crit­i­cised by for­mer play­ers, be­liev­ing they should be more un­der­stand­ing given they know the pres­sures and stress of the job.

But Deila was en­tirely re­laxed and philo­soph­i­cal yes­ter­day, in­sist­ing that he had nei­ther heard nor read any of the neg­a­tive me­dia cov­er­age. He also said he had been lippy him­self in the me­dia when he was younger, and had been con­tro­ver­sial for the sake of it.

“Opin­ions in foot­ball are fun; it’s good to have them. That’s why foot­ball is so fan­tas­tic be­cause ev­ery­one has an opin­ion and ev­ery fan loves it. They are tense and look­ing for­ward to the game and some­times you just get so happy with the play­ers and some­times so ir­ri­tated. That’s how it is. i have been a big mouth my­self be­fore. Back home, i was talk­ing in big words about how Nor­we­gian foot­ball should be. i didn’t have a news­pa­per col­umn, although i could have had if i wanted.

“You have to un­der­stand the dif­fer­ent roles. i worked in the me­dia as well. You don’t al­ways say what you think, you say what will sell. You have to use big­ger words than you re­ally mean. There is al­ways a dif­fer­ence be­tween them. if you want head­lines, you have to go for the big ones. i have re­spect for that, it’s no prob­lem.

“i up­set a few other man­agers in Norway with things i said. i had a lot of ar­gu­ments. But i was young. i un­der­stand the rules now: talk about your­self and your club; that’s the most im­por­tant thing. i can han­dle the crit­ics no prob­lem, but if i don’t see the an­swer, then my brain is start­ing to work. it’s hard at the start.

“There are tough times and good times – we are go­ing up and down all the time right now. But that’s part of the job. i haven’t seen so much from the crit­ics as i try to avoid any­thing like that. But i know that at ev­ery big club you get this. in the end it’s about win­ning tro­phies. That’s my goal. That’s what i’ve said all the time.”

Celtic have won five of their last six

games but the level of per­for­mance has var­ied wildly and Sut­ton is by no means alone in his with­er­ing as­sess­ment of how their sea­son is un­fold­ing. The level of dis­play was gen­er­ally dire against the Ro­ma­ni­ans and goal­keeper Craig Gor­don spared them from a draw or even de­feat.

Celtic con­tinue to of­ten follow an im­pres­sive per­for­mance with a medi­ocre or poor one. Hav­ing routed Ross County in the league last week­end, the As­tra tie was a ma­jor come­down.

“I’m a lit­tle bit frus­trated, of course,” said Deila. “But that is how it is. The op­po­nents are dif­fer­ent, it is hard some­times to see what you are play­ing. That’s one of my strengths, be­ing im­pa­tient. I re­ally want more all the time but we also have to be pos­i­tive about the things that are hap­pen­ing. We try to im­prove in ev­ery game.”

In­cred­i­bly, only a week be­fore Novem­ber, Celtic are fifth in the ta­ble, be­hind Hamil­ton, Dundee United, In­ver­ness Cale­do­nian This­tle and to­mor­row’s vis­i­tors to Park­head, Kil­marnock. Their level of per­for­mance and there­fore the like­li­hood of vic­tory has be­come dif­fi­cult to an­tic­i­pate with any cer­tainty.

Hav­ing dropped points to In­ver­ness, Dundee, Mother­well and Hamil­ton al­ready this sea­son, the Richter scale would be un­moved if they were to stum­ble again against the vis­i­tors from Ayr­shire. “Kil­marnock are a lit­tle bit sim­i­lar to Hamil­ton,” said Deila. “They are work­ing hard, have good en­ergy, are very di­rect and have a co­her­ent style of play. They are con­fi­dent just now, so it’s go­ing to be a tough game for us. But I think it is com­ing at the right mo­ment. The play­ers are hun­gry to show that the Hamil­ton game [they won 1-0 at Park­head ear­lier this month] is some­thing we don’t want to ex­pe­ri­ence again.”

Celtic are hope­ful that Kris Com­mons will be avail­able after a mus­cle prob­lem in his up­per thigh but they will not know un­til closer to kick-off. James For­rest has re­turned to full train­ing but be­cause he has suf­fered re­cur­ring ham­string and mus­cle prob­lems the club is work­ing with him rather than rush­ing him back into the team. “He could have played by now but we want to get him fit­ter so we can, hope­fully, get more con­sis­tency in his play. So we are pa­tient with him.

“He is a top player and we know he can make a dif­fer­ence in the team. It’s very im­por­tant that if he is go­ing to be the player he can be, we do ev­ery­thing we can to man­age his sit­u­a­tion. He has taken full part in train­ing this week, so that’s pos­i­tive.”

SUT­TON: Very crit­i­cal of his old team

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