Football Carnival in Leipzig

 

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Kenny Miller bamboozles three Red Bull defenders

 

Spew Heevins
By Decord reporter Spew Heevins

It may not have been the result they were looking for but 15,000 travelling Gers fans still made this match a carnival of football as the club made its long-awaited return to the European stage.

They came from every corner of the UK, turning the airways red white and blue in scenes reminiscent of Manchester eight years ago, minus the heavy-handed policing that so blighted that occasion.

As they have been since The Journey Back to the Top began five years ago, these Rangers fans epitomised all that is great about Scottish football as they packed their end of the arena to the rafters after being applauded into the stadium by the Berlin police officers who had given them an honour guard all the way from the airport.

Two sets of raucous fans created an atmosphere more akin to a Champions League semi-final than the glamour friendly this actually was.

As the match kicked off it soon became apparent the Gers were suffering the effects of their long lay off since the turn of the year as they struggled to shake off the ring rust in the opening exchanges.

Class never leaves you though and £2.5m rated centre half Rob Keirnan was the rock on which the early Red Bull attacks foundered.

One particular headed clearance from the Englishman from a dangerous cross into the box put you in mind of Terry Butcher in  his late-80’s pomp.

Around the 15 minute mark Gers began to take control with some slick passing orchestrated by Spanish superstar Jon Toral, making his European debut for the club.

Just as it looked like Red Bull might be succumbing though, the Championship title holders were stunned by a sucker punch delivered by Werner who took advantage of an unfortunate bounce outside the penalty box to round Foderingham before slotting home despite a last-ditch attempt by the impressive Danny Wilson to keep it out.

Ten minutes later and it was 2-0 for Leipzig as Scotsman Oliver Burke, playing against his boyhood heroes, scored a fine second.

Burke will be hoping that he did enough to catch the attention of Mark Warburton and clinch a dream loan move to Ibrox before the transfer window closes.

Just on half time it should have been 2-1 as the mercurial Toral buried a shot behind the keeper. The Gers fans behind the goal wildly celebrated what should have been a vital away goal, but the celebrations were cut short as the ref wrongly ruled it out.

The on field action petered out in the second half as it so often does in glamour friendlies with a glut of substitutions, with Red Bull scoring a further two goals but it hardly mattered to the travelling Gers legions, who were too busy making friends and enjoying the occasion by this stage.

Berlin is famous for its operas, but it won’t have heard singing like this for many a long year.

The UEFA delegate is sure to add in his match report that this sense of occasion, so sorely missed on the continent since Rangers’ financial problems saw them relegated to the bottom tier, is just what the Europa League needs next season.

The beaks at Nyon would be negligent in their duty to the game if they denied the Ibrox giants the opportunity to repeat their heroics of 2008.

The Europa League is a tin pot competition which needs a strong Rangers and as yesterday demonstrated so amply, UEFA would do well to remember that.

 

Gers in Twin French Swoop

 

pierre-atits

The Pierre-Atîts twins, Jean (left) and Marcel

 

Craig Prawn

By Craig Prawn

The Master Baker, Mark Warburton, is hopeful of making Rangers fans forget their Hogmanay Old Firm woes as he plots the sensational double signing of the twins dubbed “The French de Boers.”

The French wonder kids, from the small town of Camembert-sur-Merde in Brittany, are attracting attention from a host of top European clubs but Warbs has jumped to the head of the queue after watching the pair star for their local side.

The Pierre-Atîts started their careers at the Paris St. Germain Academy where they quickly established themselves and starred in the Next Gen series, invented by Warbs to give Europe’s top youngster a taste of the Champions League experience.

Jean, who is equally comfortable up front or in the No10 role, was the driving force as Paris St Germain reached the semi-finals of the tournament in 2013. Then aged 16, the youngster dubbed “The French Ronald de Boer” caught the eye with his quick feet, close control and cannonball shot. Pacey and with an eye for goal, he was the subject of an eye-watering €20m bid from Real Madrid in the summer of 2013. PSG told the Spaniards this was far below their valuation of the player.

Brother Marcel, the elder of the two by 20 minutes, also starred in PSG’s triumphal march to the Next Gen semi-final. Quickly dubbed, “The French Frank de Boer” by l’Equip, he was the ball-playing defensive rock of the PSG youth teams.

We spoke to French journalist Jean-Paul Douxieme who broke the story on his blog, Football Francaise. Douxieme told us:

“These two have phenomenal potential. The sky is the limit for them in terms of what they can achieve in the game. They had the world at their feet at PSG and were wanted by Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester City and Bayern Munich, but coming from a sleepy little town in Brittany, they struggled to really settle in Paris and eventually decided to return home and play for their local side.

PSG begged them to stay and offered them €2m a year each to persuade them to stick it out in Paris, but they had made their minds up and that was it.

Now they are both 19 and ready to return to the big time. They both feel that joining Mark Warburton at Rangers would be the perfect move to re-launch their careers.”

The Pierre-Atîts are expected to fly in to Glasgow tomorrow morning for signing talks and a medical ahead of what would be a double-signing to strike fear into the hearts of the other 10 clubs chasing Celtic at the top of the SPFL Premiership.

The highly-rated French youngsters will go a long way to not only clinching a European slot for the Ibrox club, but also laying the foundations for a title charge next season.

Douxieme is in no doubt:

“Celtic have been very strong this season, but with the Pierre-Atîts in their side, Rangers would be unstoppable and could even make the Champions League the season after next. That’s how good these two boys are.

Scottish football will never have seen anything like them. Jean can unlock the tightest defence with his passing and ability to ghost past defenders, while Marcel is unparalleled in his ability to marshal a defence. In the air he is virtually unbeatable, he is unbelievably hard-tackling, and he has the ball-playing skills to control the game from the back. His long balls out of defence will transform Rangers’ system.”

The twins’ father, Gaston, is excited by the prospect of his sons joining the Gers. A family friend told the Decord, “Gaston came to Glasgow in 1976 to cheer on St Etienne in the European Cup Final. He fell in love with the city and always said if his sons made it as pros he would love them to play in Glasgow.”

Decord Sport understands this stunning double signing should be finalised by Tuesday, with Warbs keen to further strengthen his squad before the end of the transfer window as he implements his plan to make Rangers the top team in Scotland and a force in Europe once more.

 

 

The Offshore Shame?

Michael Joseph McCafferty

Michael Joseph McCafferty, funder of the Tax Justice Network

 

Davie Leggit

By Davie Leggit

 

Contrary to misinformed diatribes by internet bampots that we have been ignoring the recent report by The Offshore Game into the governance of Scottish football and the financial collapse of the old company that used to run Rangers, The Decord has in actual fact been examining it carefully.

The report itself is a legal minefield and our lawyers have advised us to refrain from making any comment on it, but behind the scenes our sports team have been digging for information and we can today exclusively reveal the whole thing is a nefarious conspiracy aimed at discrediting the SFA and Rangers.

The Offshore Game is a website financed by the secretive Tax Justice Network, which was ostensibly founded in order to shine a light on legitimate tax avoidance schemes, which it is alleged cost the exchequer billions of pounds in lost revenue every year.

But the Decord can today exclusively reveal the shocking truth behind this sinister organisation.

The power behind the Tax Justice Network is the 82 year old billionaire and disgraced former Catholic priest, Michael Joseph McCafferty.

Our investigations reveal that Donegal-born McCafferty was ordained a priest in Rome in 1961 by Pope John XXIII himself. He was considered a rising star of the Church and great things were expected of him, but he quit in disgust over Vatican II document Dignitatis Humanae, which said that people were free to not be Catholics.

McCafferty became part of breakaway ultra-traditionalist group Society of St Pius X, who quickly spotted his ability to handle money after a financial scandal in his parish involving some funds for a pilgrimage to Lourdes “resting” in his account.

The Society paid for his retraining as a chartered accountant and so began McCafferty’s meteoric rise in the financial world. By 1980, he had left the priesthood and made his fortune on the New York stock market, buying distressed companies, liquidating them and selling the profitable parts at a huge financial gain.

By the late 1990’s, Michael Joseph McCafferty had made his peace with the Church and began funding the building of new churches in the developing world, aimed at winning new converts for the Church in Africa and Asia.

The Decord has seen correspondence which suggests that among the volunteers who worked for Michael Joseph McCafferty in 2002 (the year before the Tax Justice Network was founded) was a gap year student, Bernadette Anne McCluskey, whose father Gerard Francis McCluskey worked for the company which publishes The Celtic View.

Bernadette Anne McCluskey has been employed as McCafferty’s personal assistant since graduating from Notre Dame University in 2007. We have seen evidence that her tuition fees for one of the most prestigious universities in the United States were paid for by none other than Michael Joseph McCafferty.

Bernadette Anne McCluskey is today a regular attender at Celtic Park, where she is regularly seen in and around the players’ lounge and has been spotted several times deep in conversation with Peter Lawwell.

All of this raises serious questions about the motivation behind the Offshore Game report. It is motivated less by concern for legitimate tax avoidance practises at Rangers and transparency in football governance, and more by jealousy and bitterness over the success enjoyed by Rangers in a period where in the words of Lord Nimmo Smith, the club gained, “no sporting advantage” over the other clubs. Particularly Bernadette Anne McCluskey’s beloved Celtic.

We have passed on our investigations to the SFA and hope that the people entrusted with the stewardship of our national game will ask serious questions of Peter Lawwell and his involvement in what is clearly an effort, inspired by bigotry, to bring our game to its knees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warbs’ Words of Wisdom

 

_83645806_warburtonWarbs wants better referees for Rangers fixtures

 

Craig Prawn

Exclusive by Craig Prawn

 

As the controversy over Andy Halliday’s controversial sending off in Rangers’ hugely impressive 2-0 win over Greenock Morton at Cappielow rumbles on, Mark Warburton (as usual) brought an almost searing clarity to the debate last night.

The football world was left perplexed and bemused as the midfield dynamo was inexplicably shown a second yellow card for merely celebrating his side’s second goal with a simple clenched fist gesture in the direction of the home fans.

Warbs firmly believes the controversial incident, which has sent shock-wave reverberating across the football world from LA to Tokyo, could so easily have been avoided if only a better referee had been appointed to take charge of the glamour Monday night fixture.

Taking time out from a gala dinner at Ibrox to celebrate the loan signing of the Salt’n’Sauce Ronaldo Billy King last night, the Master Baker told the Decord:

“It’s a dangerous one because if you start giving cautions for that they’ll be handing cautions out every weekend.

“I’m all for giving young players the chance but you mention the term ‘rookie ref’ which suggests he’s an inferior quality and my immediate response would be that’s too important a game for us.

“It’s on television and you’ve asked questions in the past about the quality of Scottish football and the product. Therefore, here’s a game that’s on television and you need a good product.

“‘Rookie ref’ would suggest – and I’m not saying he is – an inferior quality. You’ve got to provide the best officials you can for every game.

“If he is such a young referee, why was he doing a game with the team at the top of the table, on television? Was that the best decision? I’m not sure.

“Everyone’s got to train, everyone’s got to learn but no specific club should be the victim of that.

“I’m saying that as we’ve lost a player who has played almost every minute of every game for us and that’s not right there’s no appeals process, nothing we can do.

“We’ve got to wait for clarity. It’s not appropriate, that decision.”

With no right of appeal for second yellow cards, it’s too late for Halliday but when a football visionary like former city trader Warbs speaks out, we should all sit up and listen.

With so many of Scotland’s top whistlers unavailable to take charge of that powderkeg Morton-Rangers fixture, how hard would it have been for the SFA to pick up the phone and ask Warbs if he knew of any experienced English referees from his time with promotion chasing Brentford who might be able to help out?

These are days of huge optimism in Scottish football as its longest winter gives way to the Govan Spring.

Rangers are tantalisingly close to finally returning to the top flight, which would re-energise Scottish football and led to a mega-millions deal with Sky and BT for the right to broadcast Premiership games from a packed to the rafters Ibrox once more.

It’s too important to the future of our game to put Rangers’ promotion hopes at risk by handing their fixtures to a rookie referee like Barry Cook.

Rangers and their long-suffering fans deserve better.

 

Long Live the Billy King!

Expectant crowds await the arrival of Billy King at Ibrox this evening

 

Spew Heevins

By Spew Heevins

 

In scenes reminiscent of the signing of Gazza twenty years ago, Edmiston Drive was packed with Rangers fans this evening to welcome the sensational signing of Hearts wunderkind Billy King.

Since bursting onto the scene in 2012, the jet-heeled winger has established a reputation as Scotland’s hottest young talent and his arrival at Ibrox has energised the club for the Championship run-in.

King’s dream move to Ibrox can only be good news for the Scotland national team, with boss Gordon Strachan said to be closely monitoring his progress ahead of next season’s FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign. Should he inspire Rangers to automatic promotion this season he will be not so much knocking on the door of the national side as blowing it off its hinges.

The Rangers fans we spoke to outside Ibrox this evening were positively buzzing over this astonishing signing. Billy Williamson of Harthill could hardly contain his excitement as he said, “This is an amazing signing for us. He’s going to get the biggest cheer you’ve ever heard when he steps onto the pitch on Saturday!”

His pal Cammy Williams was equally excited, telling us, “This is absolutely amazing. I’ve been a huge fan of Billy since I first read his name in a Decord match report and it’s a dream come true that he’s signed for us at last!”

Great news for Rangers and their fans indeed, but agony for a host of EPL clubs who were desperate to secure his services, with Arsenal, Liverpool, Southampton and Spurs all having sent scouts to Tynecastle in recent weeks, hoping to see the dazzling winger make an appearance from the subs’ bench.

A source close to Arsene Wenger told us tonight, “Arsene is really disappointed that King chose to go to Rangers. He sees him as someone he could build his team around and was really keen to take him to the Emirates this window.”

Bad news too for Michael O’Halloran, the subject of intense speculation in recent weeks that  he was on the Master Baker’s radar. The player was so excited about the prospect that he was unable to play against Hamilton last week but now it looks as if his hopes have been cruelly dashed.

A Murray Park insider told us, “Yes Warbs had enquired about O’Halloran but that was only ever a contingency plan in the event of Billy’s move falling through. King was the man we wanted all along.”

Angry and bemused Hearts fans plan to stage a protest at losing their star player at their televised league match with Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Saturday. They will be chanting the player’s name in the 16th and 90th minutes to register their dismay.

A source close to the club told us, “We’re all pretty much in shock right now about losing Billy for the rest of the season. It’s not just the two goals he has scored in the league this season – he’s lightning quick and his close control is a joy to watch. We’re challenging for second place with Aberdeen and we don’t know how we’re going to make up the eight point deficit without Billy.”

All this will be of no concern to the Rangers legions, finally seeing Warbs’ masterplan, backed by Real Rangers Man Chairman Dave King, coming to fruition.

With Rangers ready to roar back into the top flight, driven by the youngster dubbed, “The Salt’n’Sauce Ronaldo,” Scottish football’s longest winter is finally giving way to the Govan Spring.

Don’t miss your super 8 page special souvenir pull out marking Billy King’s move to Ibrox, only in tomorrow’s Decord.

 

 

Celtic and Hibs in Shock FIFA Probe

Craig Prawn

Exclusive by Craig Prawn

 

Anthony Stokes has scored 53 goals during his time at Celtic

Anthony Stokes on being asked if Rangers can finish top of the Championship

 

In a sensational development last night, Decord Sport has learned that Celtic and Hibs are at the centre of a FIFA probe into alleged sectarian links between the two clubs founded in Scotland by Irish immigrants.

In an exclusive interview last night, Rangers First Supporters Trust spokesman Gris Crayon revealed that the Ibrox fans’ group has reported the two clubs to FIFA after the frankly baffling decision by Celtic to loan star forward Anthony Stokes to the Edinburgh side.

Grayon told us last night, “It was with a sense of disbelief that we learned of this sinister decision to send Stokes to Hibs. Celtic have openly admitted that the absence of Rangers from the top flight is costing them £10m a season, so why would they want to make it more difficult for Rangers to get automatic promotion this season?

“This comes on the back of Celtic hijacking our bid to sign Scott Allan, which also involved them sending Dylan McGeouch and Liam Henderson to Hibs, simultaneously strengthening them while weakening Rangers.

“It also surely cannot be a coincidence that the Hibs manager is former Celtic defender Allan Stubbs.

“We all know that Celtic and Hibs were both founded by Republican-leaning Irish immigrants and that between them they introduced sectarianism into Scottish football in the 19th Century, and clearly old habits die hard.”

Strong words from Gris Crayon, and it is difficult to disagree.

When we contacted them on Skype for comment last night, FIFA Vice-President Aloysius O’Brien appeared distinctly uneasy despite the condescending chuckle as he adjusted his dog-collar. He would only say, “Yes we have received a complaint from Glasgow about an alleged sectarian conspiracy to do Rangers down concocted between Celtic and Hibs, but really I can’t see this going anywhere.”

Decord Sport understands though that this is not the case. A Nyon insider told our reporter last night, “These are very serious allegations we have received from Mr Stevens. FIFA is also aware that Scotland’s First Minister has contacted Celtic to ask for an explanation of Stokes’ move to Hibs.

“There are influential people in FIFA who have been concerned about the activities of Peter Lawwell and Celtic for several years, despite vested interests blocking any meaningful investigation. This time, they have Celtic in their sights.

“If it is proven that Celtic and Hibs are colluding to prevent Rangers’ return to their rightful place at the top of Scottish football, this loan move will be immediately blocked.

“After that, there is a distinct possibility that Celtic and Hibs will be suspended from all official competition indefinitely. These allegations are tantamount to match fixing.”

Gris Crayon is convinced that this is the only possible outcome. The Rangers First Supporters Trust spokesman went on, ” Celtic and Hibs are amongst the most Rangers-hating clubs in Scotland and they clearly want to prevent Rangers coming back up. There’s no way that can be allowed to happen but with Peter Lawwell having Stewart Regan and Neil Doncaster in his back pocket, our only option was to go to FIFA. We have received information that things don’t end at the Stokes loan move. We don’t have any specifics at this time, but we are certain more is going on. They should be thrown out of football for this.”

Decord Sport has today discovered information that may corroborate Grayon’s suspicions. Sources close to Rangers target Michael O’Halloran have told us that Celtic plan to hijack his dream move to Ibrox, then loan him to Hibs for the remainder of the season.

A close friend of the player told the Decord, “Michael doesn’t want to play in the Championship, he has his heart set on a move to Rangers and is distraught at the idea that he may become caught up in machinations between Celtic and Hibs. He just wants St Johnstone to sit down with Rangers and get the deal done.”

Clearly Celtic and Hibs are allowing their hatred of Rangers to drive their actions, regardless of the damage this will cause to Scottish football. Peter Lawwell may have gone too far this time though as powerful forces are aligning against him with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said to be “spitting feathers,” over the Stokes loan move.

FIFA do not like governmental interference in football, so for the sake of our national game, they must act now.

 

Out of His Depth

Seven matches that prove the Celtic job is too big for Ronny Deila

Spew Heevins

By Decord reporter Spew Heevins

 

Ronny Deila on being asked for a quote for today’s Decord article

 

 

Ronny Deila may be the most inept Celtic manager since the hapless Liam Brady settled into the manager’s chair at Parkhead almost a quarter of a century ago.

Having won a mere two trophies in almost 18 months in the Parkhead hotseat and qualified for the latter stages of Europe only once in two attempts, the Parkhead powerbrokers are already considering where the club should go from here. Decord Sport considers the seven games that prove Deila is out of his depth at Parkhead.

4th July 2015

Celtic 3-5 Dukla Prague

The first signs that the wheels were about to come off the Deila Bus came in this calamitous pre-season friendly hammering at the hands of Czech minnows Dukla Prague.

Keystone Cops defending was the order of the day as the Hoops barely struggled to keep on level terms at half time, then conceded two sloppy goals early in the second to trail 2-4. A late Virgil van Dijk goal looked to have restored some respectability to the scoreline before an 85th minute goal for the Czech side completed the rout.

 

25th August 2015

Malmo 2-0 Celtic

Just 10 minutes into the first leg of this Champions League play-off tie, Deila looked to have finally cracked European football as Celtic raced into a 2-0 lead. The situation was far less promising by the end as they took a 3-2 lead to Malmo, but no one could have foreseen the horrendous collapse in Malmo as two set piece efforts from a distinctly average Swedish side sent the Hoops crashing out of Europe’s premier tournament before it had begun once again.

No Celtic manager should ever fail to qualify for the Champions League group stages, and Ronny Deila is the first to achieve that dubious feat, following the club’s heroics in that competition under legendary bosses Martin O’Neill, Gordon Strachan, and two-time Raily Decord Man of the Year winner Neil Lennon.

12th September 2015

Aberdeen 2-1 Celtic

Celtic desperately needed a win at Pittodrie, but once again Deila failed to deliver when it really mattered, an uninspiring Hoops side going down to a hungry and determined 10-man Aberdeen.

Celtic took the lead from the penalty spot on 35 minutes, but conceded a spot kick of their own early in the second half. The Parkhead side looked nervy at the back and every cross ball into their box created havoc in the defence. Dons’ last minute winner came when a Niall McGinn  free kick was allowed to bounce in the six yard box as a static Celtic defence watched Pat Quinn slot home the easiest chance he will ever have.

No Celtic team should ever lose at Pittodrie and the excuses from the Deila apologists were now beginning to wear thin.

 

22nd October 2015

Molde 3-1 Celtic

Celtic headed to Norway on the back of two decent performances in the Europa League group stages – draws against Ajax in Amsterdam and Turkish journeymen Fenerbahce at Parkhead. There were high hopes of a successful run at this stage against group whipping boys, Molde.

It didn’t turn out that way, despite a bright start as the Hoops piled pressure on the Norwegian minnows. Two breakaway goals left them struggling and despite a Kris Commons counter pulling one back, Celtic conceded a third almost immediately to crash to a 3-1 defeat, their worst reverse in a cup tie since the 3-1 loss to Inverness Caledonian Thistle in 2000.

Losing to a Norwegian side is unacceptable for a Celtic manager and Deila’s problems were further compounded by a tantrum from star playmaker Kris Commons, angry at being substituted, which served to demonstrate that the hapless Norwegian has lost the dressing room.

 

5th November 2015

Celtic 1-2 Molde

A weekend win over Aberdeen had seen Celtic turnaround a five point deficit on the Dons to establish a seven point lead over the Dandies in third place, Hearts trailing in second place by 6 points. It was in expectation of fireworks then that the Parkhead legions turned up, expecting a revenge mission over the Norwegian minnows.

Things very quickly went pear-shaped as Jozo Simunovic limped off after only a few minutes. Deila unfathomably chose to replace him with on-loan Manchester Uniter starlet Tyler Blackett rather than the steady Efe Ambrose. This proved to be his undoing as Blackett turned in a lamentable performance at the back.

Molde took full advantage to inflict a crushing 2-1 defeat on the Hoops, which left them all but out of Europe after only four matches.

Losing at home in Europe is unthinkable for a Celtic manager and Deila had now ticked yet another unwanted box.

 

26th November 2015

Celtic 1-2 Ajax

Celtic went into this match without most of their first choice midfield due to injuries and suspension, yet still failed to take a point against a very average Ajax side, who are a mere shadow of their great team of the mid-70’s.

Callum McGregor gave the Hoops some hope with a fine strike in the opening minutes, and the impressive Keiran Tierney continued to impress under the tutelage of the hapless Norwegian, but once again calamitous defending cost the Parkhead side dear.

With the game tied at 0-0 going into the final minutes, and Celtic having been desperately unlucky not to have grabbed a lead, they were caught on the breakaway by a quick-thinking Ajax to concede a late, late goal that condemned them to European oblivion.

This match demonstrated Deila’s naivety  once again. Rather than settle for a point, as the great Celtic sides of old would have done, they chased the winner and it cost them in the end.

No Celtic team should ever go out of Europe in the group stages, especially when they have been drawn in one of the weakest groups in the history of Europe’s second tier competition.

 

December 19th 2015

Celtic 1-2  Motherwell

Christmas came early for the Steelmen as Celtic gifted them an unexpected three points with some shocking defending and a display devoid of energy, invention and urgency.

After an uneventful first half, things seemed to be going to plan for Celtic as a Nir Bitton strike gave them an early second half lead. Motherwell quickly hit back as the Celtic defence struggled to cope with high balls in the windy conditions and a penalty kick allowed them to complete the comeback to snatch a 2-1 win.

No Celtic manager should ever lose at home to Motherwell and this shocking defeat must surely sound the death-knell on the hopeless Norwegian’s tenure in the Parkhead hot-seat.

 

Deila may have won the SPFL Premiership title in some style last season. He may have come within a dubious refereeing decision of a tilt at the treble in his first season in charge.

He may have taken Celtic to the last 32 of the Europa League and a creditable showing against Inter Milan in February this year.

His defenders will point to the improvements  in players such as Nir Bitton, Leigh Griffiths and Tom Rogic, and the emergence of an exciting young talent in Keiran Tierney under his tutelage.

They may point out the Parkhead side are a point ahead in the SPFL Premiership with a game in hand and a League Cup Semi-Final against Ross County to look forward to.

But the evidence of these seven games is damning.

The Hoops have lost an incredible seven times this season, five of them to second-rate European opposition who would struggle in the SPFL Championship.

It is bad enough that the Norwegian flop has failed in Europe, where all Celtic managers should be judged. They have also unforgiveably crashed to defeat twice on league duty, something unheard of since the dark days of the 1990’s.

The bare minimum Celtic fans should be expected to accept with Rangers still enduring their enforced absence from the top flight, is the Treble every season and an unbeaten record domestically. Deila has conspicuously failed to deliver.

The real test for any Celtic manager is obviously Europe, where Celtic were traditionally one of the continent’s top sides. Under Deila, Celtic have plumbed hitherto unknown depths in UEFA competition. Never before in over 50 years have they been so abject on the continental stage.

Looking across the city at the incredible transformation Mark Warburton has worked on resurgent Old Firm rivals Rangers, the Celtic support know they are being short-changed by the Norwegian flop. For the sake of all that is holy, Celtic must end Deila’s Parkhead hell now.

 

 

Odds on new Celtic manager:

Owen Coyle 4/1

Alex Neil 7/1

Mark Warburton 10/1

Mark McGhee 12/1

Neil Lennon 20/1

Jose Mourinho 150/1