Criteria for the new manager


In the time I’ve been writing CQN, this is the eighth managerial change Celtic have gone through.  A feature I have always noticed before is that we try to correct for the previous incumbent’s biggest weakness.  Did Ange have a big weakness?  The sense I am picking up from most on here is that, if anything, we would like more of the same.  Change as little as possible and keep the caravan moving.  But what was it about Ange that made him successful and, therefore, what do we need in the new man?

He must control alpha males who have often achieved more than you as players.  They are usually from a different generation and are therefore culturally remote.  The good ones have options and will leave if they don’t take to you, so a Mastery of Contained Authority is required.

Tactics are incredibly technical.  Five or six players need to act on a cue from an opponent in tandem, get it wrong, and you will be shredded.  Three years ago, we saw how a straightforward technical task like defending a set-piece is far more difficult than non-players could believe.  Until recently, managers could survive on their eye for a player and by being the apex alpha, not anymore.

Celtic are on a good road technically.  Recruitment and scouting have been focussed to deliver to Ange’s requirements.  I would be very reluctant to throw that out for a new plan.  We should choose a manager technically in-tune with our current strategy – or one prepared to learn quickly.

Leadership qualities extend beyond the dressing room.  Ange excelled here, leading the entire club: fans, board, players, staff, even the media were under his spell.  If you think this is easy, we should talk about Gordon Strachan’s time.

Recruitment can be the most important part of a football club.  Gordon grew up a Hibs fan and would often watch them.  Consequently, he signed three players from Easter Road.  Martin O’Neill was once described to be by someone who worked closely with him as a “Match of the Day manager”.  If he saw you play well on TV, he would want to sign you.  It was not an efficient strategy.

The problem with recruitment is that the net needs to be cast worldwide.  Managers often have two games a week and spare time to travel to watch a player is almost non-existent.  Modern recruitment is more of a team effort than it was when many of today’s crop of managers first took charge.  They need to be prepared to let go of some controls they had before.  The manager is either a cog in the wheel, or he is a spanner.  Too many are micro-managing spanners.

If players are not good enough, managers get the sack, so you can understand why they want this control, but changes in the game make them a liability.  A manager who excels is one who can curtail his apex instincts and become primus inter pares at recruitment meetings.

Not all environments are the same and none are quite like Glasgow.  The next Celtic manager needs to take a team to Ibrox in front of 50,000 hostile fans and fortify them for the task.  Success or failure in this task alone could determine the outcome of your job in its entirety.  Brendan Rodgers, Neil Lennon and Ange were all up to this job.  Would a technically brilliant manager who has never faced anything more than a Scandinavian chill cope?  How can we know?

Celtic have a shortlist of names that meet the criteria, one that has been curated since before Ange was appointed.  It inspires some confidence, but I sense a lot of trepidation among those with the decision to make.  Ultimately, you can do all the checks you want, but we all know it’s a throw of the dice.

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  1. “Would a technically brilliant manager who has never faced anything more than a Scandinavian chill cope? How can we know?”



    Knutsen took his team to the fabled Celtic Park and silenced the 60,000 crowd, no?

  2. Some interesting info on the Ipswitch boy.In leading g Ipswitch to promotion,his team scored 101 goals. 19 ahead of the nearest.Goals against in 46 games,35,lowest in the League.So looks like he had both ends of the field under under control.Asked my Norwich mate who is here at the moment about him.Said he is adored now by the Ipswich fans for the way they play.


    Just some info.

  3. Was the comment about a manager who only knows the Scandinavian chill a subtle way of saying don’t expect Knutsen?

  4. I was thinking similar earlier today Paul. No matter how much research and how good a short list we have it is hard to be certain and to pick the perfect option. The great thing is we are in a decent position to be choosing and have options to consider.



    The entitled supporter base we have is another obstacle as well as an advantage for any incomer.

  5. Regards Knutsen.Their incredible performances against us was no flash in the pan.Stri g of very good Euro results.

  6. Turkeybhoy



    Ipswich fans I know are confident about play offs for premiership next season. Such is their positivity about their man.

  7. bournesouprecipe on

    These new chapters opened three decades ago with the dismissal of Lou Macari by Fergus McCann. A young vibrant manager from the shadows of the stadium was tried, honing footballers, musketeers or plain mercenaries about the joy of Celtic. Learn to say hail hail, and you’re good to go, regardless of their transfer fee.



    It was recorded on these very pages two years ago that Ange Postecoglu’s proclaimed football philosophy would fail. Sevco style leeching it to Seville, might add some weight, that it did. ‘High press’ ‘total ‘we never stop’ football swept the board in Scotland for sure, but as others opine, they want more. Everyone wants more, bi annually now it seems at Celtic wanted new heroes, maybe we’ll get it with pragmatist the great, whom we’re about to appoint.



    If supporters could see that, l for sure Ange could see it, he didn’t care one good one neither good, nor very bad, would do it, because Kyogo would score more. Turned out nice in the end, how will your bread and butter be served with a new cast in Dingwall and Dens next year?



    Ange played us like a fiddle he had a great script writer en board along with his knowledge of football until the final days of his Stadivarius, if you like, played all the right notes. They’re all in it together making money from the supporters love of the club. memoirs sell fast . We embrace all comers, even modern day mercenaries, as long as they win, ar interim, all good taxi drivers in Lisbon can say hail hail.



    It makes a wage in the end, just like Ange.



    Fair dinkum CSC

  8. Sounds like you are talking about Maresca, he certainly was considered before Ange. Wonder what’s changed as he wasn’t offered the job then.


    Keep the Faith!


    Hail Hail!

  9. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    “We should choose a manager technically in-tune with our current strategy – or one prepared to learn quickly.”




    Forget the second part of that statement, Paul. We don’t want someone saying they can do something to get the job and then not being able to or not even trying.


    And we have to get away from this big Ibrox bogeyman thing. If we are serious about trying to compete at CL level that’s nothing more than a fly on a lion’s tail.

  10. Prestonpans bhoys on

    If we intend to maintain the current staff and play a similar style to Ange then Knutsen is an obvious choice. He knows how to express that tactic a lot better , as we found out 🧐

  11. Ange had a few weaknesses.


    Signing too many light/small players, left us wide open when CV was injured.


    Failure to adopt a defensive system when playing in Europe. Cost us dearly last year.


    Nevertheless I will miss him.


    I am more worried about losing our top players than anything else at the moment.

  12. quadrophenian on

    How can anyone go past Muscat as the closet thing to Ange that’s available at a decent price, I don’t know… not that he’s especially charismatic or likeable to my eyes, but he’s experienced, steely and successful at comparable levels to what Ange was…



    Alpha male; double check


    Midfield animal in his day; check


    Continued Angeball at Victory and won title; check


    Continued Angeball at Yokohama and won title; check


    Access to Asian player recruitment culture; current and check


    Knows about Glasgow’s OF and wouldn’t be cowed by it; check



    But you seem to be nodding towards Vincenzo Maresco, Paul.



    Why aren’t boardroom bods talking to Kevo Vincento Muscato ?


    Surely the Antipodean snobbery has gone after what Angelos achieved?

  13. Prestonpans bhoys on

    MADRARUA on 12:27



    TBH I was more concerned that the board would go for the cheap option i.e Master Kennedy

  14. Agreed, there is no appointment that guarantees success. So why not John Kennedy if we want continuity.

  15. The Celtic job is amazing, unlike any other.



    i don’t know why anyone wouldn’t want it, except for the comparatively low wages. That being said most of the top managers are already multi-millionaires and so could take an irrelevant financial hit for a couple of years – just for the experience!



    So who would you take? – Ancelotti? Mourinho? – Could you image him with the Scottish press and referees?! lol!

  16. Villas Boas is still unemployed after falling out with Marseilles over Ntcham’s arrival

  17. Hairlikespaghetti



    Hard to say but he would surely jump at the chance to manage Celtic.

  18. odds checker fav to be our new man is Maresca; he has done nothing whatsoever to suggest that he should be next inline.

  19. 79 Caps,



    John Kennedy has never been a manager apart from a short stint as our interim. At 39, It is time he flew the nest.



    It could be argued that his continuity means more of Barkas, Ajeti and McCarthy signings. Disgraceful squandering of money.



    By all accounts John is highly regarded as a coach, I hope he achieves great things elsewhere and continues his triumph over adversity.



    Then who knows. But not now.




  20. Garngad to Croy on

    More of the same , Kevin Muscat ? (at least I will move up the season waiting ticket list quickly)

  21. De-risking the club this summer just got harder.



    It was an upgrade on existing players to fit style + backfill those leaving.


    Now compounded with new manager + Variations to style + players to fit that style + above



    Means a pragmatism that allows for timely transition. E.g. What other style does Maeda fit? Who still favours wee full backs ?



    New set of requirements for scouting or push ahead with a young talent that comes at a great price point?



    I’d rather get someone who can bring their style of play but the importance of working in a trading model that retains quality through periods of rebuilding is still key. Time for the Director of Football, upgrade in facilities and continuity strategy as much as a new and important figurehead.



    No idea who the eff that is but feels a long overdue strategy to deploy.




  22. I feel that Muscat is a risk. He might be a good manager, however he comes with a lot of baggage from his playing days (not many ex-players have a “reputation” section in their Wikipedia page, ). He seems to have an erratic character.



    Lots of business decisions are made defensively, with the consideration that blame can’t be attached as long as you are shown to have taken a sensible decision. (you may remember the “no-one was ever fired for buying IBM” phrase, and I know that IBM is no longer what it was, but the principle holds). If Muscat fails, particularly if he is wound up by the Glasgow goldfish bowl media, he would not be the only one to take flak, and that counts.

  23. !!Bada Bing!! on

    Martin O’Neill a MOTD Manager? Heard it all now……signing a decent GK was his Achilles heel, Broto done well but got shafted by his agent ……

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