Kris Commons discusses Celtic Park becoming 'a running joke' during Deila days

By John McGinley

February 11, 2020

Former Celtic star and Sky Sports pundit Kris Commons has been reflecting on his time at the club during the Ronny Deila days, feeling that dwindling attendances at the time became something of an embarrassment, writing in his Scottish Daily Mail column (10/02 print edition, Verdict supplement, page 12).

These days Celtic Park is often close to capacity.

Tomorrow night’s match against Hearts only has limited tickets available while standard tickets for the upcoming clash against Copenhagen in the Europa League have already sold out.

Back when Deila was in charge though large sections of the stadium were regularly closed, fans apparently not enamoured with the state of the club as it was.

Commons has compared the situation that the Norwegian boss then faced to the one that Derek McInnes is facing now at Aberdeen.

The former attacking midfielder thinks when fans decide to walk away is when real pressure is put on managers.

As quoted by The Scottish Daily Mail (10/02 print edition, Verdict supplement, page 12), he said: “When punters decide they’ve had enough and can’t even be bothered to turn up, that’s when you know you’re in a bit of bother.

“I can vouch for that from my time at Celtic. During Ronny Deila’s second season, the empty seats at Parkhead became a bit of a running joke.

“The top tier of the stadium would be closed for Europa League games. Flags would be draped over the empty sections to try and hide it. It becomes a source of embarrassment. Players aren’t blind. They can see for themselves and are fully aware of what’s going on.

“An empty stadium is a massive problem.”

Kris Commons scoring for Celtic / (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

There’s no doubt that in recent seasons there’s been a notable upswing in excitement and interest in Celtic.

Reasons for that include the ambition shown in bringing Brendan Rodgers to the club, the happiness in the success and results that Neil Lennon is producing and the fact we are potentially on the verge of historic triumphs like winning nine or even ten successive league titles.

Deila never really inspired the Celtic support despite winning league titles of his own and a few years the lull that Commons describes did exist.

I can’t say I ever found it embarrassing, it was simply a sign of the times.

Right now though, we can all relish buoyant crowds, a successful team and properly passionate Celtic man in the dugout.