Tuesday 21 January 2020

Deila reveals family sacrifice as he pledges to come out all guns blazing at Celtic Park

'Celtic have better players than the other teams so we won't sit back in home games' new boss

Manager Ronny Deila of Celtic Glasgow
Manager Ronny Deila of Celtic Glasgow

Ewing Grahame

Celtic manager Ronny Deila has had a lot to deal with since he arrived in Glasgow but he has revealed for the first time that his relocation has had, at least temporarily, a damaging effect on his personal life.

At lunchtime today he will walk out on to the touchline at Parkhead for the first time. He will watch former owner Fergus McCann raise the Premiership flag and then coax, cajole and command his players as they attempt to prise points from league leaders Dundee United.

On such a momentous occasion it is customary for those involved to have their nearest and dearest with them to share the experience but Deila will be denied that comfort. Twin daughters Live and Thile are still in Norway with their mother, from whom the manager has separated.

The teenagers have remained at home for the sake of their education, a parting which pains Deila, who says he attempts to fill that void with work.

"My family haven't come," he said. "I am not together with the mother of my children. I am single now and my two kids wanted to stay in Norway. They will visit me when they have a vacation and I'll go see them whenever there is an international break. It's very hard.

"When you do this, you sacrifice everything. They wanted me to do this, though, and I couldn't say no. They knew I'd regret it for the rest of my life if I didn't come here. But ask any big manager if they made sacrifices and they'll all say yes. This is not a job, it's a lifestyle. It's 24 hours a day, thinking all the time.

"You can say you're going home but you're always doing the job, thinking about it. There are so many decisions to make all the time that it has to be that way. But, with my kids, I asked them what they thought about me coming here.

"I asked them if it was OK with them. They saw in my face, though, that they couldn't say no. I think I manipulated them pretty well! But they are proud of me, I can see that."

Not that Deila need ever be short of company.

"I have gone out for dinner a couple of times," he explained. "Three weeks ago I was outside waiting for a taxi to go home and decided to go into the nearest pub to get a beer. I now realise I shouldn't do that!

"Everyone was very polite but it was too much. I was there for 15 minutes and everyone was very friendly but it was too much. People wanted to talk to me about Celtic and have their picture taken with me."

Deila has also promised supporters that his team will attempt to put their rivals to the sword with style in every league fixture at Parkhead this season.

"We have better players than the other teams," he said. "So we don't go to Celtic Park and just stay back. Then there is something wrong. Then you are afraid to lose. I am not afraid to lose.

"I would rather lose than play bad football. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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