The fall out from Celtic’s defeat in Molde won’t be a 24 hour wonder.
Whatever happens against Dundee United on Saturday the 3-1 defeat in Norway is going to dominate events at the club for a considerable time.
Central to the debate will be Ronny Deila and Peter Lawwell with Kris Commons not far from the conflict.
Deila has been given every backing from the support as has Lawwell and his fellow directors. There has been a few pockets of dissent, even malcontents to use a phrase from the early nineties, but by and large both men have been given the benefit of the doubt from a support eager to engage and see Celtic move into a new era of success.
In that respect the 2013/14 Champions League campaign helped. After a decent, perhaps unlucky, start to that campaign the defeat at Ajax, home loss to AC Milan and hammering in Barceleona it was recognised that the club was way short of being able to put up a decent fight in the premier tournament.
Changes were required. Fast forward two years and the changes have been drastic. Four points were taken from AC Milan, Ajax and Barcelona with four goals lost. This morning Celtic have taken two points from Ajax, Fenerbahce and Molde.
The concerns that followed last season’s matches against Legia Warsaw and Maribor have been reinforced by this season’s European displays. Since drawing 0-0 away to Qarabag Celtic have shipped 11 goals in five matches, it could have been more with the restructured defence a constant source of complaint.
While Deila retains 100% belief in his 4-2-3-1 system more and more supporters are doubting that formation and/or the manager.
Whether it’s the system or the players that are at fault the evidence so far is that Celtic are further away than ever from being a team that can make a fist of it in the Champions League group stages.
When that happens the finger of blame is pointed at the dug-out with the boardroom also in sight. Has Deila been given the backing and support that he needs or are there doubts among the directors about the decision taken last summer to embrace a new direction.
After losing out worryingly to Malmo in the Champions League qualifiers the Europa League bought Deila time with half-full supporters anticipating a Europa League campaign that could steer the club towards a meaningful Champions League effort next season.
Commons is a favourite of most supporters but if he was to be a casualty of change then so be it. Football is a brutal business, yesterday’s hero can quickly become a liability.
With no sign of an improvement in performances the former Derby County midfielder is a focus for those questioning the way that the team is heading, comparing his treatment with Stefan Johansen is an obvious sore point.
Before Molde turn up at Celtic Park for an unappealing Thursday 6pm kick off Celtic face three demanding domestic tests against Dundee United, Hearts and Aberdeen.
The margin for error is minimal, the supporters that retain faith in the management are going to have that trust tested if domestic results take a downturn.
In situations like this we are told that football is a results business. Celtic supporters have a better grasp of the changing nature of football than most, they accept the reality of the club’s financial position and the environment that Celtic play in.
Being turned over by the seventh best team in Norway is a step too far, under no circumstances can that level of performance be excused or justified.
Navigating next season’s Champions League qualifiers, assuming that the title is won, looks a tall order. Anything less than full points at home to Molde will see more than Commons turn on the management.