Exclusive: "It changes the energy"; Celtic legend Jackie McNamara on Howe, Kennedy staying and "intelligent" DoF candidate

By Euan Davidson

April 6, 2021

Celtic legend Jackie McNamara has spoken to 67 Hail Hail about the ongoing Eddie Howe news.

McNamara, who spent a decade at Celtic, has entered the debate about continuity. With a raft of changes facing Celtic, there had been arguments about keeping interim boss John Kennedy and first-team coach Gavin Strachan.

The ex-Dundee United boss has his own view on how Celtic should proceed.

He told us:

“I think it’s something that could work, [but] I think for both parties it’d be better if [Howe] brought his own people in. For the players that are there, speaking from a player’s side. In [Kennedy’s] own mind, he should think he should’ve been given more of a shot as a manager. He’s had a taste of it.

“For me, I think John has to go away and learn on his own. Take a job, and work his way up.

“He’s learned a lot from his previous managers, with Ronny, with Brendan, with Neil. But I do think for his own development, [the best thing is] to go and start, work his way up. Make his decisions, bring his own players in, work behind the scenes. One day he might come back to Celtic as a manager.

“But I don’t think it’d be right for him personally, having been the manager, working behind Eddie and thinking “it should be me”. He’ll have that in the back of his mind. It changes the energy with his players, just now they’ll be calling him “boss”, “gaffer”. It just looks a bit messy, to start with.

“We’ve lost the manager, with Neil [Lennon] going. Peter Lawwell is leaving, new chief exec’s coming in. Hopefully there’ll be a Director of Football, the head of recruitment’s left, the captain’s left. It’s a whole new set-up.

“If you keep the guy that’s in charge just now, along with Gavin [Strachan], it’s not changing everything that needs to be changed.”

Richard Hughes, formerly of Bournemouth / (Photo by AMA/Corbis via Getty Images)

Celtic hero Jackie McNamara on Richard Hughes, a former international colleague

In other Eddie Howe news, Jackie Mac has given his seal of approval to potential Director of Football Richard Hughes. The appointment of Hughes is a potential sticking point in the Howe negotiations [Sun].

McNamara, though, has insider info about the Howe ally, a Celtic-daft ex-Scotland international who held significant influence in Howe’s Bournemouth success.

McNamara said:

“Richard, I know from my time at Scotland, is a good guy. Very intelligent, I think he’d be a great addition to come with [Howe]. Somebody that he trusts for the recruitment side, that’s what he had with Bournemouth.

“He has a good eye for players that have helped Bournemouth over the years. I could see that happening as well. That would solve the problem of the Director of Football that we’ve been talking about for a number of months.”

READ MORE: Controversial ex-manager opens up on a horrifying defeat.