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EXCLUSIVE: ‘HOLD YOUR NERVE, CELTIC FANS,’ SAYS LEGEND

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CELTIC legend John ‘Yogi’ Hughes has asked Hoops fans to have trust in the club that delivered the phenomenal quadruple treble before this season’s collapse.

The 78-year-old iconic goalscorer believes the club deserve to be given time to put the jigsaw together before they hit the ground running in the new campaign.

Author Alex Gordon, who co-wrote Hughes’ autobiography, ‘Yogi Bare: The Life and Times of a Celtic Legend’, interviewed the former Hoops star to get his view in an another CQN EXCLUSIVE.

“I well understand the frustration of the fans because I am a Celtic supporter, too,” said the seventh-highest marksman in the club’s history with 189 strikes.

“It would have been too easy to rush into a decision to name Neil Lennon’s long-term successor. You better believe there are plenty of people out there who would jump at the opportunity of taking the job.

PROPHETIC…Neil Lennon walks off the pitch in Dingwall after the loss to Ross County in February, his last game in charge.

“It’s a prestige post and we are talking about a club with an enormous worldwide fan base. A packed Celtic Park with a successful team performing is one of sport’s most exhilarating sights.

“I’ve been on that pitch and I am now in the stand, but I still get a tingle when my old club are in full flow.

“The fans had the most prolific and enjoyable four years prior to this one. Who would have thought any team could win every domestic trophy spread over four seasons?

“If I had been offered 12 out of 15 domestic trophies over a five-year period, I would have accepted without a second thought. Who would knock back that possibility?

“However, it went pear-shaped this time out just when expectations were up through the roof. A lot of what we have witnessed has been fairly inexplicable.

“The sooner this term is consigned to the past, the better. I think we all agree with that.

HAIL, HAIL…Celtic players celebrate the quadruple treble after the Scottish Cup victory at Hampden in December.

“Now is the time to look to the future. A new manager will be unveiled in due course and we have to trust the club to get it right.

“My old team-mate Davie Hay said in CQN in February, that we must have faith in Dermot Desmond. It’s absolutely crucial we identify the right manager who will be in the job long enough to turn things around and lay a foundation for years to follow.

“Eddie Howe is the name in the frame as it has been for some while. Celtic fans are wondering about the delay – if, of course, the former Bournemouth manager is the next gaffer.

“There will be valid reasons and they will undoubtedly come to light when a decision is finally made.

“What would have been the point of a new boss – Eddie Howe or anyone else – coming in with only three months of a disastrous season to run?

“He would be taking over a squad of downhearted players with some individuals already appearing to have lost their way. He would have been working with players he would have been well aware would not be at the club in the new season.

“Did a new manager need three defeats from the Ibrox club on their CV before getting the opportunity to settle in to a completely new environment?

AU REVOIR…Odsonne Edouard will be on his way in the summer.

“It could have gone the other way, of course, with three successive wins, but it wouldn’t have meant a lot if the players who helped get those victories headed out of the Hoops exit at the end of the campaign. Do you expect to see Odsonne Edouard performing the hoops next season? I don’t. Same could be said for a few others.

“I am not too perturbed that a manager isn’t in place right now to take care of what is certain to be a hectic summer of comings and goings.

“Who is to say that a lot of work isn’t being done at that level right now? Players could be getting lined up as we speak.

“All sorts of things could be going on in the background to make certain the transition will be as smooth as possible.

“I’m reading all sorts of tales about this player or that player arriving at the club. Only a few people will know for certain what is actually goining on in the recruitment front and there is little point in naming targets at the moment.

“We have waited this long, so will it hurt to extend our patience by another couple of weeks or so?

“The main thing is to get the right man in position. This decision was always going to be made at the end of a marathon and not a sprint.

“We’re getting close to that finishing tape. Hold your nerve, Celtic fans.”

* TOMORROW: Don’t miss another Big Yogi EXCLUSIVE – only in your champion CQN.

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