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Saturday, 08 May 2010

Glasgow Celtic: Who will be the next Bhoys manager?

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Despite being a former Celtic captain, the appointment of Tony Mowbray as Celtic boss turned out to be an unmitigated disaster. The former West Brom manager signed too many average players, his touchline demeanour failed to inspire the fans and the 4-0 drubbing at the hands of St Mirren in March was just too much to take for the Celtic hierarchy.

Since then Celtic have been in the capable hands of another former Celtic captain Neil Lennon, but, unlike Mowbray, Lennon has been able to produce winning football at Parkhead and galvanise the fans. However, has the former combative midfielder done enough to secure the job on a permanent basis?

To be fair he hasn’t done his case any harm at all. He has won seven out of seven in the league and even got the better of Old Firm rivals Rangers in midweek. Unfortunately he does have a major blot on his record after going down 2-0 to First Division side Ross County in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup – a result which leaves Celtic empty handed for the season.

The fans appear to be split on whether Lennon, who let’s not forget is a managerial novice, should be given the job or whether they should go for somebody with vast European experience.

In Lennon’s defence he knows what it means to represent Celtic and will do everything in his power to bring the glory days back to Paradise. He is an uncompromising figure who would fight with his own shadow but he wouldn’t allow his players to give anything less than 100 per cent – something which happened far too often under Mowbray.

But Lennon is not the only one being linked with the prestigious role. Paul Lambert, Craig Levein, Mark Hughes and Ronald Koeman have also been linked with vacant post. But who would be the best appointment for Celtic?

Paul Lambert

The Norwich City boss has just enjoyed an amazing season at Carrow Road and is now just one step away from managing in the Premier League. However, could the lure of Paradise be too strong for him? Lambert spent eight years at Celtic and won every domestic honour going and led the side to the UEFA Cup Final in 2003.

As a manager in England, with Wycombe, Colchester and Norwich, he boasts a 40 per cent win record and could easily turn Celtic’s fortunes around. However, the standing of the SPL has fallen dramatically over the past decade and even last summer Owen Coyle opted to remain with Burnley than manage the Bhoys.

Personally I think Lambert will have his sights firmly on the challenge of guiding Norwich back to the Premier League.

Craig Levein

The Scotland boss has been well backed for the vacant job in recent weeks but would he really risk infuriating the rest of the country by turning his back on the international team for Celtic? The former Dundee United manager is well respected in Scotland for his achievements at Tannadice and his teams always came out fighting.

There’s no doubt in my mind that he is a top class manager who makes the most of his resources, but I would be shocked if he left the Scotland post after just one game in charge.

Mark Hughes

Sparky has been looking for a job at a top club to come up since he was given the boot by Manchester City in December and they don’t come much bigger than Celtic. But would he be willing to swap the lucrative and challenging world of the Premier League for the uncompetitive SPL?

The former Wales and Blackburn Rovers boss is a born winner and has built his sides on a solid defence, but, being a former striker, he likes to play attacking football. His reputation would also enable the club to attract some of the better players that Europe has to offer.

Unfortunately there are rumours circulating that he could be waiting for events to unfold with Gianfranco Zola at West Ham United.

Ronald Koeman

The Dutch international defender was one of the best in the business and won some of the game’s biggest accolades. As a manager his winning streak has continued, winning silverware in his native Holland, Portugal and Spain. Could Scotland be next on the agenda?

Koeman has been looking for a new job since being axed by AZ Alkmaar in December and has a magnificent 60 per cent winning record – blighted significantly by a dreadful spell at Valencia. The former Barcelona and Ajax man will be only too aware of what his countrymen Wim Jansen and Dick Advocaat achieved in Scotland and will know all about Celtic as they are one of the biggest clubs in world football.

Whether he is really interested in the Celtic job or is trying to raise his profile I’m not sure but it’s always good to have a big European name linked with your club.

Other names in the frame include Nottingham Forest’s Billy Davis, Ipswich’s Roy Keane, former old boys John Collins and Henrik Larsson and Wolves boss Mick McCarthy.

In my opinion, Lennon has put himself firmly in the driving seat but who would you, the Celtic fans, like to see in the dugout for the new season?

Whatever your view, I’d love to hear from you.

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Colin Illingworth



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