Where to now for Celtic


How well do we handle succession?  Mostly very well.  Back in the 90s Celtic stumbled from one manager to another, picking up whoever was available and prepared to pick up the inevitable poisoned chalice, without any perceivable strategy.

Wim Jansen came from nowhere, or Japan, to be geographically accurate, and was a success, but despite a legendary respect for Fergus McCann, this appointment looked like a stab in the dark.  After Wim left, we had the seminal reign of John Barnes.  Millions were spent, and wasted, before King Kenny held fort for the final few months of season 1999-2000.

The changes introduced by Martin O’Neill are still being felt.  We had been rubbish for decades in Europe, hadn’t knocked out a team from the ‘big five leagues’ since Leeds United in 1970.  We were conditioned to expect and accept defeat, but after Martin, the world would never be the same again.

Martin’s strategy was not without its flaws, for a start, it wasn’t sustainable.  Celtic lost millions every season, despite competing in Champions League football for the first time, and the momentous matter………. Seville.

Gordon Strachan came with a remit to change the problems the club faced immediately before his arrival – bring spending down to meet income, win the league and make progress in the Champions League.  Despite starting with one of the worst weeks in the clubs history, Gordon delivered.

There was a problem, though.  A disconnect opened up that first week when Artmedia smacked five goals past David Marshall, which was never fully resolved.  When we went back into the market, fixing this disconnect was high on the agenda.  Who better than a popular former player who ‘invented’ the Celtic huddle.

Tony Mowbray ticked the boxes which Gordon Strachan showed little appetite for but he was miles off plan for Celtic.  The first week in the job he asked to sign Marc-Antoine Fortune for close to £4m.  I’m sure the proposition was a bolt out of the blue to the club.  Expensive 28-year-old strikers with a low- scoring record was not on strategy.  Having appointed Mowbray, the club had little choice but to back his maiden request, but I bet there was a raft of people at Lennoxtown who knew how this chapter in our story would end.

Neil Lennon was working as a coach at Celtic during the Mowbray era.  He was close to the scouts, sports science people, fitness experts and chief executive.  In other words, he was on plan.  After the John Barnes ‘tried and tested rookie manager’ strategy, I didn’t want Neil, or any other debutant, but he was intelligent, tactically aware and experienced inside the Celtic system.  Within no time, Neil was making headlines as a Champions League manager.  The shine will quite rightly never fade from Martin’s halo, but I could make a case that Neil Lennon has been our best manager since the guy from Burnbank.

Notice the pattern?

We have a habit of appointing a manager to address the perceived deficiencies of the previous incumbent.  Right now, the need for someone to connect with fans will be less pronounced than it was when Gordon Strachan left, the need for someone to work within budget is fundamental, but will not stress anyone.

Neil’s most glaring faults are a whole lot less glaring than any of his predecessors.  This time, we should be looking for someone just like the previous guy:

A student of the game, who understands the tactical trends in the world game.
On plan with club scouts, nutritionists, sports scientists, coaches, player trading policy and budget.

Order your SIGNED copy of Tommy Gemmell’s All the best from the (fabulous new) CQN Bookstore.

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  1. As Coyle moves to 5/2 favourite at Ladbrokes a feeling of dread washes over me and almost puts me off my lunch!!

  2. 50 shades of green supports wee oscar and his family.h.h.wee mhan on

    * gary67


    12:13 on 23 May, 2014



    As Coyle moves to 5/2 favourite at Ladbrokes a feeling of dread washes over me and almost puts me off my lunch!!





    whit *****

  3. The Honest Mistake loves being first on

    All South East based Celtic Supporters, please get in touch.


    We’ve got a fantastic night lined up on the 21st of June in Wimbledon. A CQN legend and a Celtic legend will take us through their tales of Celtic from the sixties onwards. A rare opportunity to participate in a Celtic night in London that cannot be missed.


    Hail Hail

  4. jude2005 is Neil Lennon \o/ on

    In case u mist it.




    Lubo & Henrik double, Or Malky on his own for me!!! Off oot.




    H H

  5. jude2005 is Neil Lennon \o/


    12:15 on 23 May, 2014



    No. Favourite with Ladbrokes, second or third favourite with most others

  6. darwinsbeautifulidea on

    Davie bhoy the hun from a hun family





    the articles description of our departed manager is a joke,very poor tactically ,couldn’t pick a side to save himself good riddance

  7. Gary67




    12:13 on 23 May, 2014




    As Coyle moves to 5/2 favourite at Ladbrokes a feeling of dread washes over me and almost puts me off my lunch!!




    “almost” :-)))

  8. darwinsbeautifulidea




    12:19 on 23 May, 2014




    Davie bhoy the hun from a hun family





    What, like Stein, Dalgleish etc?

  9. NatKnow


    12:19 on 23 May, 2014


    “almost” :-)))



    only Greggs favourite son would actually!!

  10. tommytwiststommyturns on

    Maybe we should keep an eye on Betdaq for the odds on our next manager….who owns them?!



    darwin – evolve or bugger off back to your brethren on FF.




  11. ulysses mcghee is praying for Oscar



    My immediate response to that was – that reads like Henrik Larsson…




    See I read that as not Henrik, seems more like promoting someone from within the club.



    As for Moyes, the guy will be on a weekly wage much higher than any one else at Celtic, can’t see him coming.

  12. Paul67 – With Moyes being unlikely Steve Clarke ticks all the boxes for me. Very very well respected coach with European experience. A good guy to bring in to help with the moneyball strategy working closely with our excellent Scouting department. Malky MacKay could also do a job.



    However I fear Owen Coyle…..

  13. Sounds like a case for a Stevie Frail John Kennedy promotion.


    Or a promotion for their appointment.

  14. up_over_goal on

    We need someone to inspire as the fans’ enthusiasm begins to flag and the numbers drop.



    Henrik Larsson, please.




  15. Oh how I’d love to see the look on Shearer’s face when it is announced that his old nemesis is named manager of his beloved club.

  16. When NL got the job who was that guy they were going to appoint as his “mentor” struggling to remember his name?

  17. whitedoghunch on

    with a world class team of scouts, nutritionists, sports scientists, coaches in place and the challenge of testing thier mettle in the champions leauge every year this is a position any manager would aspire to

  18. tommytwiststommyturns on

    the huddle – my first thought was John Kennedy, but it’s too early in his coaching career.


    We can only hope that Paul isn’t managing our expectations. (cough!)



    Michael Laudrup for me! :-)




  19. This is an opportunity to recruit a fresh face – a coach from one of the leagues in Europe still free from TV money pollution; not necessarily young, but tactically creative and with a nice long contacts list. We can offer a decent wage, a big stadium and a very good chance of a league championship, plus a shot at the Champions League and an opportunity to build up a profile that would interest the keepers of the fleshpot south of the border.



    I agree with Paul that Dr Jo and Wim the Tim were both better than most people credited: another one like that would do fine.

  20. Paul67:



    Whilst you are around perhaps I could ask you to explain what you mean by the term student of the game?



    Are you suggesting an older and experienced Manager or simply an experienced Manager?



    I agree we need somebody that fits the Bill and not somebody that the Fans would want e.g. Henrik or Malky or somebody of their ilk. However, and with respect to Dr. Joe we do need somebody of his ilk at this stage. Poor do I want somebody who would struggle to attract 25k to Celtic Park.



    Yes, we need an experienced Manager not necessarily somebody that would impress the Fans in his name.



    Lastly, and without putting a specific timescale do expect an appointment next week, the following week?



    Keep the Faith!



    Hail Hail!

  21. Interesting article Paul , a few faults though


    WGS spent more money that Mon, more on quantity and less on quality which left out club in WGS last season with a goalie for his successor to struggle with. The real shambles with TM season was the January fire sale to ” balance the books” your words when I the question of you ( you forgot that conveniently when I asked you a few years later


    Yes balancing books in January when we were 5 points behind the deid club


    A major decision in giving then the league and money to prop then up for an extra few years



    If we had a different CEO we would have earned millions more


    After TM left were were told an untruth that were were looking at many candidates for the role but was let out that only Neil was considered


    Our exit from CL that year was down to our CEO not giving Neil any funds for that CL campaign



    Time for a change

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