Ronny Deila has been rewriting history in an interview with The Times.
According to the Norwegian he was the architect of the current success rather than the man that left the club after two humiliating cup defeats and complete failure in the Champions League.
Taking over the club in 2014 was one of the easiest tasks ever, being handed the reigns to a team that had just won three titles and qualified for back-to-back Champions League campaigns.
The team needed strengthening, some adjustments and changes to push on- when Deila left the dressing room was broken with almost every player at their lowest ebb.
Deila claims that his job was to create a younger squad, most fans thought that it was to continue winning domestically and push on in the Champions League.
Neil Lennon’s team had been successful but it was getting older, it was past its prime, and my job was to bring young players in and develop them. That was why I got the job — the board believed I could develop a younger team.
So I brought in guys like Kris Ajer, Ryan Christie, Stuart Armstrong, Gary Mackay-Steven and Dedryck Boyata. Plus, I brought Callum McGregor and Tom Rogic into the first team. Both Callum and Tom were at Celtic when I arrived but they weren’t really involved in the top team. Callum had been away on loan but I wanted to put him in the team.
It was my job to make Celtic younger as well as successful. It was all part of the challenge. My job was to make it work.”
Running Griffiths a close second in the Player of the Year stakes was Kieran Tierney, given his chance after Tyler Blackett had shown himself up to be hopelessly out of his depth.
Blackett wasn’t alone. After dealing mainly in loan signings during his first transfer window Deila had bought wisely in Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Stevens in the January 2015 window, their first few months had been promising.
In the summer of 2015 Deila snapped up Nadir Ciftci, Saidy Janko, Scott Allan, Dedryck Boyata and Logan Bailly.
It is doubtful if the club has ever had a worse transfer window. Those signings contributed nothing to the team as Deila turned back to the players he had inherited and wanted rid of.
The 2015 Scottish Cup semi-final defeat to Inverness Caley Thistle was outrageous, unfortunately Deila opted to take it on the chin rather than speak out about Steven McLean whose career has gone from strength to strength.
After losing to Ross County in the 2016 League Cup semi-final it was only a matter of time before Deila left, the Scottish Cup semi-final defeat to the tribute act wasn’t a surprise with the manager resigning within a week.
Under Rodgers players that looked broken, who had flopped at Hampden were revived. Step forward Mikael Lustig, Boyata, James Forrest, Callum McGregor and Tom Rogic.
Of Deila’s signings Armstrong and Boyata made a contribution under Rodgers, the others were beyond help. Both players credit Rodgers for their improvement, no mention is given to the current Valerenga boss.
Celtic’s scouting network identified Moussa Dembele, with Brendan Rodgers as manager the young French striker was signed. Had Deila stayed on Dembele wouldn’t have gone near Celtic.
Kris Ajer had his positioned changed, he flourished. Ryan Christie was sent on loan twice to Aberdeen and is now an important player.
Deila deserves minor credit for keeping the current title winning run going. In Europe he failed, his style of play made thousands of season ticket holders find other things to do on match days.
Real managers don’t go trying to claim some of the glory for the success of others.
Deila’s place in Celtic’s history is assured, he won two titles, numbers four and five largely with Neil Lennon’s signings, players like Kris Commons, Stefan Johansen and Griffiths.
He ought to leave it at that and move on, let Valerenga enjoy the benefits of his managerial ability.