CELTIC had launched into the 1999/2000 season with high hopes with the so-called Dream Team of Kenny Dalglish and John Barnes in control of team matters.

A year later, both had departed Parkhead.

Barnes was sacked in the immediate aftermath of the most humiliating result in the club’s history – the 3-1 Scottish Cup loss to Inverness Caley Thistle on February 8 2000 – and Dalglish was handed the managerial role in a caretaker capacity. At the conclusion of a woeful campaign, the club legend was also on his way.

In another CQN EXCLUSIVE series, we focus on how the Parkhead club recovered from the catastrophic loss to the Highlanders to rise from the debris as they were propelled into a new era.

Here is Part Fourteen of edited extracts from Celtic author Alex Gordon’s tribute book, ‘The Winds of Change‘, which was published by CQN in 2015.

Please enjoy.

IT WAS time for what was becoming an annual routine – who would be in the Celtic dug-out for the 2000/01 campaign?

As usual, the names tumbled forth hither and yon. One of the first to emerge was that of Co Adriaanse, of Dutch outfit Willem II. The speculation didn’t last long, though, as he agreed to join Ajax for the new season.

Another Dutch coach reported to be in the mix was Leo Beenhakker, who was on the verge of leaving Feyenoord. Ironically, he went to the Amsterdam giants, too, as Director of Technical Affairs. After a year, he fired Adriaanse and brought in Ronald Koeman.

Berti Vogts, who had quit as manager of Germany in 1998, was another to get a mention. The man who would one day became the Scotland international coach put an end to that particular guessing game by joining Bayer Leverkusen.

Luis Fernandez, coach at Athletic Bilbao, stepped onto the managerial merry-go-round, but he was another who was destined for a place elsewhere when he took over at Paris Saint Germain in the summer of 2000. Peter Reid, then manager at Sunderland, threw his hat into the ring, too.

PARADISE – FOR THE TIME BEING…the Celtic Dream Team of Kenny Dalglish and John Barnes on the June day of their appointment.
John Toshack, linked with Celtic before Wim Jansen got the job, had just resolved a contract wrangle after leaving Real Madrid, but he headed for Saint Etienne.
Former centre-half Mick McCarthy, who had played in Billy McNeill’s centenary double-winning side, was the Republic of Ireland manager and he, apparently, was interested in returning to Parkhead.
Dublin-born Joe Kinnear, who had quit Wimbledon the previous year, was a personal friend of majority shareholder Dermot Desmond and, thus, was also said to be in the running. Martin O’Neill fell into the same category, but, to all intents and purposes, he was happy in the English top flight with Leicester City.
The names were coming thick and fast. One of the most curious was that of Romanian Angel Iordanescu, who was coming out of contract at Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal.
Clear favourite, though, was Guus Hiddink, who was on the verge of completing his short-term agreement at Real Betis. The former Holland international boss, who had also managed Real Madrid between July 1998 and February 1999, looked a shoo-in at one stage.
DUTCH TREAT? Guus Hiddink was tipped to become the new Celtic manager for 2000/01.
Allan MacDonald and Chief Executive Frank O’Callaghan flew to Spain to have talks with the 53-year-old Dutchman who would be a free agent in June.
Hiddink admitted he had met the Celtic delegation “out of courtesy and nothing else”. He also had a meeting with Tommy Burns and it was obvious some ground rules were being put in place.
Jim Hone, the club’s Contracts Manager, also made contact with the highly-rated coach and an annual salary of £1.4million was mentioned in the media. Things were moving apace when the coach’s deal with Betis was abruptly terminated in May with the club heading for relegation.
Now, apparently, there was nothing to prevent Guus Hiddink from being appointed as the thirteenth individual to be the full-time manager of Celtic Football Club.
Didn’t quite work out that way. No-one was surprised. Things rarely did at Parkhead back then.
* TOMORROW: Don’t miss Welcome to Paradise, Martin: Part One
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