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No honeymoon for Deila

HOW do you measure success for a Celtic manager these days?

Ronny Deila will be judged by Celtic's success in EuropePhotograph: SNS
Ronny Deila will be judged by Celtic's success in EuropePhotograph: SNS

You cannot do anything other than win the league given the current situation within Scottish football, so there is certainly a necessity to win at least one cup and complete a domestic double.

What Ronny Deila may discover, though, is that his European campaign, should it fail to go to plan, may return to haunt him later in the season even if the SPFL Premiership title is safely in the bag.

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The next few weeks, the first meaningful weeks of his time in the job, could play a pivotal role in determining whether he is to be a success in Glasgow or not.

It does sound a bit absurd to be talking about the Norwegian's chances of remaining in position long-term before he has even taken charge of his first competitive match - away to KR Reykjavik in the second qualifying round of the Champions League on Tuesday - but this is what life is all about at a big, ambitious club.

Deila may have a new job and Celtic may have a new manager, but the same old pressures remain.

Let's say Europe was done and dusted and Celtic went out of the League Cup, as they did last season, in September before slipping up in the Scottish Cup. What happens in these Champions League qualifying matches - or even in the group stage should Celtic get there - could very, very easily come back to haunt you.

Resounding failure in Europe, particularly nowadays, can spell the end for a manager at Parkhead. If Celtic do not do well there and fail to win the domestic cups, I would go as far as to say the supporters would probably want Deila out.

Neil Lennon was pilloried in some quarters last season as a result of going out of the League Cup at the hands of Morton and being knocked out of the Scottish Cup at home to Aberdeen. Deila should consider that when weighing up how his time as manager will be evaluated.

It shows the reality of Scottish football. It can be cruel and harsh and I am sure chief executive Peter Lawwell has filled Deila in on the expectation levels and the need to put on a good show in Europe. For me, the current requirements from a Celtic manager are pretty straightforward. Put on a good show in Europe and win a double at home. If Europe goes well, a lack of success in the cups might be forgiven.

Should Celtic make a fist of it, getting through these qualifiers and coming close to the last 16 of the Champions League or even falling into the Europa League and winning a few games, that would almost certainly be accepted.

Should the season prove to be a spectacular failure at European level, whether through a qualifying- round exit or a group-stage campaign that yielded little in the way of points, I believe a lot of Celtic fans would make a lasting judgment on that.

They will hold it against Deila because Europe, thanks to where the domestic game is right now, is the arena in which Celtic supporters measure their manager. It has to be.

Deila is untested at this level, for me. I will be working at the game on Tuesday and travelling with the team. I am really interested to find out whether this guy is top notch or not.

It is impossible to make a decision after one game, of course, but I will most definitely be looking for early pointers.

Losing captain Scott Brown for the next 12 weeks or so through a hamstring injury is a massive blow and there is no sign of new arrivals as yet. I wouldn't expect Deila to bring in a huge number of players, anyway, and the chances are the squad will be tested to the full over the coming weeks.

I never thought I would see the day when I would say Celtic were crying out for Georgios Samaras.

Anthony Stokes and Kris Commons possess quality in attack. Some people say Stokes can't do it at that level, but I like him as a player and love his game intelligence. I simply don't think he has been given a proper opportunity in European competition.

However, Samaras came alive in Europe and saved his best football for some of those matches. His departure may leave Celtic a little short in terms of attacking options. Lawwell may rue the fact he opted to let him go.

I would not suggest for a second that Celtic cannot reach the group stage because they have achieved a lot in recent years as a collective unit. They should have no real problems against KR Reykjavik over the two legs, but it will be fascinating to be there and get a handle on just how well-equipped Deila is at the beginning of his debut campaign.

Even this early, the heat is on.

THE tax man must take part of the blame for the demise of Rangers after losing the appeal against the use of Employee Benefit Trusts last week.

EBTs created a web that caught up a number of people, including myself, and created the most damaging of problems. HMRC had claimed to be looking for upwards of £40 million when they were voted down by a majority at the first tier tribunal in November 2012 and are talking about continuing their fight after upper tier tribunal judge Lord Doherty ruled against them.

It is time to call this off. If the EBT case had not been hanging over Rangers, there is no question that bigger, more credible investors would have come to the table and given the club a far greater chance of landing in the right hands.

Instead, it has been pillaged by those who did get hold of it. The tax man had a hand in Rangers landing in the wrong hands. No doubt.

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