• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Many names linked to job but only one that matters

A FOOTBALL club always gets its man.

Peter Lawwell believes he has appointed a manager who fits the Celtic mould. Picture: SNS
Peter Lawwell believes he has appointed a manager who fits the Celtic mould. Picture: SNS

No matter how long it takes or how many other names come into contention, the process of recruiting a new manager always ends the same way: this is the guy we wanted. If there has ever been a case of a chairman presenting his latest appointment to the media with the words "well, he wasn't our first choice" then we have yet to experience it.

Celtic certainly weren't going to break the mould yesterday. Ronny Deila, in fact, could not have been made to feel more wanted on his first day in the job. Only two weeks have passed since Neil Lennon's resignation but in that short space of time a whole raft of names has been thrown into the mix as potential candidates to succeed him. First it was Henrik Larsson, then came Roy Keane, then there was a swing towards Steve Clarke. Others came and went as well. Barely a day went by when the bookmakers didn't have a new name as their favourite for the post.

It is Deila, though, who has got the job, a figure that hadn't even been mentioned until a day or two before his appointment. It is an interesting choice given he seems so different to some of the other names that had been touted around. He is certainly not as high-profile and doesn't tick the box of being a former Celtic player. On the other hand he is viewed as a young, up-and-coming managerial prospect, with impressive coaching credentials and a philosophy that centres on developing players and encouraging fast-moving, attacking football. He doesn't come with the box office appeal of a Keane or a Larsson but there are other attributes that Celtic clearly found appealing.

Whether he was their first choice or not is largely irrelevant. They have alighted on him now and seem quite pleased to have got him. He had been mentioned as a possible assistant to Lennon when Johan Mjallby announced he was leaving, and so was already in their thinking when Lennon chose to stand down.

He is a good fit for Celtic in their current guise, someone who can nurture and mould players rather than looking to always buy in the finished article. He will have a budget to spend - and Craig Gordon looks like being the first transfer to arrive - but there was little sign in his introductory press conference that Deila is agitating to get busy in the transfer market. He spoke impressively in near flawless English, no doubt further impressing the man sitting next to him.

"There were lots of outstanding candidates but Ronny was the most outstanding - a young, progressive coach and a developer of players who fits very well with what Celtic are all about today," was how Peter Lawwell, the Celtic chief executive, described his new manager. "He's innovative and forward thinking, and he fits with our strategy of developing the uncut diamonds of the game.

"On paper, Ronny had the right credentials. There are people in England we know who knew him well. His name came up. We spoke about it and explored it and always kept it at the back our minds.

"When Johan left, Neil and I had a wee chat about it but no more than that. Then, when Neil left, he came to the front. We immediately tried to arrange to meet him and that didn't occur until very recently. He met Dermot [Desmond, Celtic's major shareholder] and myself initially and then two other board members this morning. So it is a board appointment. Everyone is 100% behind it."

Lawwell acknowledged there had been discussions with other candidates, all of whom offered different qualities, before a decision was taken on Deila. An assistant is likely to be appointed next week - possibly John Collins - who can add the things missing in Deila's armoury such as local knowledge and a history with the club.

"They were all very good candidates in their own right," added the chief executive. "There are different strengths and weaknesses and to get it right we felt we had to build a team there. If someone has particular strengths or weaknesses then you find a partner who makes up for those weaknesses. That was the thought all the way along.

"There are three or four candidates [to be assistant manager]. Ronny has confirmed he [Collins] is one of the candidates so we will wait and see. I think we need someone who knows what Inverness is like and the trip up there at 12.15pm on a Sunday, someone who knows Scottish football. I think that would be a big requirement for a number two. We need to really start that process."

There had been a suggestion that Celtic were contemplating changing their management structure to a more European-style set-up with a director of football overseeing a head coach. Instead they have stuck with the tried and tested meaning Deila will largely be responsible for transfers, with input from John Park, Celtic's development manager and chief scout.

"I think what we have currently works well," added Lawwell. "There is a strong support team around the manager, which is a great bonus for anyone coming in. He has time to settle among a good staff and people who know the game in Scotland, know recruitment and know the kids. That should be an enormous help. We will work the same way that we always have in that the manager has the final say on all players coming in or going out, or their stays being extended."

Contextual targeting label: 
Football

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

238737