John Collins re-opens the debate on Ronny Deila at Celtic after remarkable MLS win

By Euan Davidson

December 14, 2021

Ronny Deila was under-appreciated at Celtic, and has done fantastic work since leaving the club, says his former assistant John Collins.

Deila won the MLS title with New York City FC at the weekend, the first ever league win in the club’s history.

Deila managed the Hoops between 2014 and 2016, guiding the club to two league titles. He also brought some fantastic players to the fore, including Kieran Tierney, Callum McGregor and Stuart Armstrong.

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

With the benefit of hindsight, many credit Deila with laying the foundations for Brendan Rodgers’ success in Scotland. The core of the young Celtic team was put together in large part by the now-MLS winner.

However, Celtic were poor at Hampden under the likeable Norwegian coach. Additionally, a lack of headway in European competitions cost Deila in terms of his reputation in Scotland. Attendances were often lacklustre in the latter parts of his time at the club.

Collins, though, reckons his successes following Celtic and the momentum he has as a manager since his Parkhead days will serve him well.

He said [Football Scotland]: “I think he was [under-appreciated].

“Obviously the budgets were lower then but we got a couple of titles. The good news for him is he’s done it again and it keeps his winning momentum going.

“Was he under-appreciated? Time will tell and it’s a question for the fans.”

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Of course Ronny Deila was under-appreciated at Celtic, but in large part for a reason nobody discusses

One key thing about Ronny Deila? He knew when it was best to step aside.

There was little surprise when Deila, on the conclusion of the 2015-16 season, announced he’d be leaving. Results hadn’t been entirely convincing, and there was a sense of stasis, maybe even regression, in some aspects of the club.

But he knew that the relationship between himself and the Celtic supporters would suffer if he stayed longer. Luckily for Celtic fans, Brendan Rodgers was available and the rest is history.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

John Collins, who joined him on his Celtic journey, is obviously going to be biased in Deila’s favour. But years after the fact, history has been kind to the MLS champion, in terms of his time at the club. He improved the players’ fitness, signed some key players, developed some important ones and was generally well-liked.

Now, he’s winning leagues across the world. It’s genuinely fascinating to see what he’ll do in his managerial career, given his relative youth.

He played a key part in getting to 9IAR, and he knew when it was time to step aside. Ronny Deila deserves massive credit for that. Clearly still a fan of the club, too, Deila seems, above all, proud to have been Celtic manager.

That’s something to value. You won’t hear too many negative opinions about him nowadays.

So, under-appreciated? Perhaps, looking back, yes he was.

Read more: What Celtic boss is delighted with amidst wave of challenges