Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell believes Celtic’s defeat to Malmo and failure to qualify for the Champions League group stages effectively cost manager Ronny Deila his job.
The Norwegian came under increasing pressure and scrutiny after the loss in the qualifier, and Lawwell told the Scottish Sun, it led to a vicious chain of events which led to an inevitable resignation.
“We played really well towards the end of last season. So we felt pretty confident. Then Malmo came — and bang! That was the turning point. The pressure started to mount on the back of that.”
“Supporters were disappointed, we were disappointed, pressure came from the media and from that point it was difficult for Ronny to recover. It became difficult to build and create. It reached the stage where our players couldn’t win going into games. They could only lose. There was only really relief when we won games and no real enjoyment.”
According to Lawwell, Deila’s philosophy of building a young side and playing attractive, attacking football could not be realised in a pressure cooker atmosphere as every loss was pounced on in the media.
The Malmo loss had become a millstone around his neck, and therefore the focus switched from a long term focus to a short term one of needing to win.
“It was like a national disaster if we lost. That affected performances. There was a tension around the place. That in turn affected Ronny’s ability to really change the culture, because he had to win.”
Deila’s replacement is still very much open to debate with the favourite changing almost daily with the bookmakers.
Currently Roy Keane is the favourite for the role, with Neil Lennon, David Moyes, Brendan Rodgers and Paul Lambert also in contention for the job.