TRUE OR FALSE: 30.08.2015 | Celtic | Ronny Deila | Tyler Blackett | Chelsea | Kevin de Bruyne | Balotelli




1.  Ronny Deila was at fault for the defeat in Malmo and elimination from the Champions League. A year on from the Maribor debacle Celtic are back to square one.

SERMMANI: TRUE: I’m a fan of Deila, and still think he is the man for the job, but that second leg was a capitulation and Deila carries the can for that. Too many of our big players simply froze over the two legs, but it’s his responsibility to ensure that doesn’t happen. One of the major question marks I have with Ronny is his ability to change things when the chips are down. The Champions League exit served only to further this.
BRYAN: FALSE: All the blame, 100% of the blame, every single last ounce of blame for Celtic’s elimination from the Champions League lies with the players who took the field on Tuesday.  We lost to a team from being 2-0 up in the opening ten minutes of the tie.  In a nutshell the players shat it, it was one of the most soul destroying performances I have watched from a Celtic team, they had the opportunity to qualify for the group stages and completely bottled it. Even worse was Commons’ comments afterwards that he wasn’t ashamed because “he tried his best” well if that’s his best he should be sent packing as its nowhere near good enough for Celtic. We aren’t back at square one, we’ve just landed on a snake but Ronny will throw another couple of sixes shortly (best boardgame analogy in T or F history, I thank you)
CIARAN: FALSE: The players have to shoulder the majority of the blame as they didn’t perform to their maximum on the pitch. The set-up and tactics looked to be correct but it was the application that went wrong. There seemed to be a lack of concentration and cohesion amongst the players. Too many misplayed passes, too many people switching off and not paying attention, poor decision making. As a team we have improved drastically from this time last year but it was that one game were we didn’t perform well which happens every so often but unfortunately in one of the most crucial games of the season.

2. The signing of Tyler Blackett is the wrong move from Celtic when the club are crying out for experience and older heads.

SERMMANI: TRUE: Not only is he inexperienced, based on what I have seen of him, he is also not very good. If Blackett is Celtic’s answer to the inevitable exit of Van Dijk, I am genuinely fearful of our backline. Blackett may prove me wrong and go on to be a solid player for us this season, but it’s a massive punt. We don’t need punts, we need quality.
BRYAN: TRUE: I don’t see the point in this signing, we need an experienced head to replace Virgil not someone who isn’t good enough for Man Utd. I totally get the club policy to develop players and sell them on however, I would rather they completely dismissed that for the centre half position and signed someone who will be at the heart of our defence for the next 3 to 5 years and with no expectation to make money from selling him.
CIARAN: FALSE: I wouldn’t say it’s a wrong move as we do need centre halves and young defenders are for the future, however, with Van Dijk leaving in the next couple of days I do agree that we need one experienced centre half in their to help guide and coach the younger defenders and help the defence work as a solid unit. I really do not see a place for Mulgrew and Ambrose in our defence as their poor qualities outweigh their good ones which leaves Boyata and Blackett who are young and really low on game time and do need an older experienced head alongside them.

3. Celtic’s Europa League draw excites you and you are looking forward to watching Celtic in Europe’s most underrated football competition.

SERMMANI: FALSE: The Europa League gets more criticism than it deserves, and if you actually watch it, more often than not you are served up exciting football. But Celtic’s group isn’t particularly exciting. We’ve been to Ajax quite recently and any trip to Turkey to play football inevitably involves discussion about fan safety (Ajax probably not any different actually). Norway isn’t exciting. At all.
BRYAN: TRUE: I would have been happy with this group in the Champions League. It’s a group that will be tough so there is no massive expectation or over exaggerated pressure from the tossers in the Scottish media. This will be a huge test for Ronny and qualification from this group could be the making of him as a Celtic great.
CIARAN: TRUE: You always want to be performing in Europe no matter what competition it is. We have the potential to progress from this group as the other teams are opponents we have the ability to beat, the players just have to believe this. At least with this group we will win games which is far from what can be said of Malmo’s Champions League group. We are realistically a Europa League team where we can compete and win games, unlike the Champions League which is getting further and further away from us in terms of resource and finance.

4. Kevin de Bruyne is a quality footballer and will in no way fail (again) like previous big money signings in the EPL Jovetic, Cuadrado and others.

SERMMANI: TRUE: De Bruyne is excellent and should have been used more effectively at Chelsea. I think he will flourish at City, who are looking very strong so far this season.
BRYAN: TRUE: Chelsea ruin young players, they have over 20 out on loan at the moment as they don’t have the foresight to play them in their first team. De Bruyne is an excellent player, Pellegrini is building a very good team this season and I expect them to win the league but they will get pumped in Europe as usual.
CIARAN: TRUE: De Bruyne is a quality player and has shown it for Wolfsburg last year. Will he fail again? yes it could happen but I don’t think so as there is not much quality and competition in his position at Man City than there was during his time at Chelsea. De Bruyne has much more skill and quality than Sterling and Navas and will walk straight into the City team. However, City and Chelsea do play similar football so with it not working at Chelsea it could fail for him at City and with the expected pressure that comes with his price tag, it will be a lot for a young player but having already experienced the Premier League that should help a lot.

5. Jose Mourinho has lost his midas touch and the decline at Chelsea will continue with Jose leaving before the season is out.

SERMMANI: TRUE: Said more in hope, but what is true of Mourinho is that he regularly gets into ruts after what is usually a phenomenonal burst of success when he joins a club. If things don’t improve, the toys might be thrown out of the bridge.
BRYAN: PLEASE PLEASE BE TRUE – Mourinho is an arsehole.
CIARAN: FALSE: It’s just early season jitters and will iron themselves out quickly. However, he does have a problem in defence when John Terry doesn’t play which he will need to sort out. There doesn’t seem to be anyone stepping up to the plate as vice caption to help drive the team forward, something similar to Scott Brown and Celtic.

6. Mario Balotelli will re-invent himself at AC Milan and show the wonderful form that lit up Serie A before he left for the riches of the EPL.

SERMMANI: FALSE: Wrong team, wrong manager. That side will not provide the platform for Mario to shine, and he has far more formidable competition up front this time. Milan should really be on the hunt for a pair of top class centre midfielders, because without them they’ll struggle to qualify for any European competition this season.
BRYAN: FALSE: I though Balotelli was an inspired signing for Liverpool and he would really show the talent he has but its clearly a mental issue with Mario and he wont ever fulfil his potential.
CIARAN: FALSE: He is still a petulant brat and won’t be able to oust Bacca or Oliviera. Furthermore he has a tough coach in Sinisa Mihalovic who wont take any of his crap. He loves the lifestyle of a footballer without having to play football!

BONUS QUESTION: Given the chance, Chris Sermanni would show Francesco Totti the time of his life and would offer him a tasty pasty dinner, a few beers and then a couple of cracking anecdotes about his time at Holyrood Secondary School.

SERMANNI: TRUE: Frank and I would have a right cracking night out. I’d bring him into Sweeney’s so the rest of the 90 Minute Cynic guys could meet him, but that would primarily be so me and Frank could slag Del Piero to Gall as he takes the bait every time. The night would be rounded off with a drunken game of curby, in which Frank and I soundly defeat everyone before firing round to Danny Singhs for a celebratory kebab.
BRYAN: TRUE: Totti would love that and end up hating Gerry Creaney as much as Sermanni does.




Chris is an avid Celtic supporter with leanings towards Juventus and Boca Juniors. A student of film and popular culture, he has an interest in politics and music. Inspired by leaders, his favourite players include Paul Lambert, Juan Román Riquelme and Alessandro Del Piero. Chris is the producer and host of the 90 Minute Cynic football podcast. You can find him on twitter @TheGallatron.

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