Make no mistake, the appointment of John Kennedy as Celtic interim manager can begin to kickstart the changes we need to see at the club early.
It’s easy to dismiss the next few months as a write-off and the remaining eight games as meaningless, but that’d be an abdication of responsibility on Celtic’s part.
The reality is that Kennedy is very unlikely to be the permanent choice as Celtic boss. Almost everyone acknowledges that the club needs a fresh start.
However, by taking actions in first-team matches right now, Kennedy can begin to prepare for next season and lay a path for an incoming head coach to utilise.
Yes, he’s been part of the problem this season, but it’s time to be part of the solution.
Give Celtic youth a chance
I’m not expecting Kennedy to rip up first-team selections and start again. Although, some of the players deserve that. Likely the interim boss will have some sort of consistency in his starting eleven. Senior players will play their part, like it or not.
However, it’s time to start giving young players the chance to perform. Rules being what they are right now, Celtic can utilise up to five substitutes in matches.
That should have been a golden opportunity for Neil Lennon to utilise youngsters such as Luca Connell and Ewan Henderson more frequently from the bench.
If not starts, then at least reward players such as the above duo for their hard work at Lennoxtown this season and give them some sort of hope of making the grade at the club.
We need to kickstart the pathway from the training centre to the first-team for young players.
Prioritise players who have a Celtic future, or be honest
Further to the need for a bit of youth development in the senior side, there are so many question marks surrounding players who have more established profiles.
We still don’t know Albian Ajeti is good enough to deserve a spot in next season’s squad. What’s Patryk Klimala looking like these days? Is it time to make Vasilis Barkas number one again?
If there are uncertain answers to these questions, the least that Kennedy can do is be upfront with the Celtic support on these issues. Neil Lennon kept us in the dark with obfuscation for too long.
Scott Brown is a senior player, but we don’t really need him to play any of our eight remaining matches. Give the game time to others, let the new Celtic take hold before the summer.
Utilise players in their best position
Pardon the cliche, but it’s been a case of square pegs in round holes this season when it comes to Lennon’s team selections. We don’t need five central midfielders in the starting lineup. We don’t need midfielders played as strikers.
Kennedy has to have faith in the wider squad and find a formation that works to beat the opposition, rather than stick out any random assortment of talent and expect it to work.
Mikey Johnston is available on the wing. A central three of Callum McGregor, Ismaila Soro and David Turnbull is worth building around. Let’s create a striking partnership!
Kennedy, for me, has a blank canvas here to provide a view of Celtic next season, even if it’s acknowledged there will be player turnover.
It’s time to step out of Neil Lennon’s shadow.