BBC journalist shares expected third coach under Celtic interim boss Kennedy

By Euan Davidson

February 24, 2021

According to the BBC, Celtic Reserve team coach Stephen McManus is set to join John Kennedy’s interim managerial team.

The move was announced by the BBC’s Kheredine Idessane on Twitter. The football journalist was brief in his summary of the news, but as a reliable source, it’s hard to dispute that McManus will be joining Kennedy’s team.

Stephen McManus is hardly a stranger to Celtic supporters. Just like John Kennedy, he was a former Celtic centre-back. A captain of the club, big Tam was instrumental during Gordon Strachan’s time as Bhoys boss. The former Scotland international made 171 appearances in all competitions for the Hoops, before moving to Middlesbrough in 2010 [Transfermarkt].

A favourite of Strachan Sr, he’ll be in a set-up that includes Gavin Strachan. Having taken up coaching roles with Motherwell following retirement, McManus joined the coaching set-up at Celtic in 2019 [Celtic FC].

Interestingly, he’s also worked as a pundit for Celtic TV, like his former team-mate Darren O’Dea. Much more willing to give a feisty opinion, however, McManus has already offered a spicy take or two.

Stephen McManus – oddly prolific for a centre-back / (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

“Jobs for the Bhoys” as BBC announce Celtic shuffle

Certainly, this latest move could be interpreted as nepotism, or “jobs for the boys”. It’s a culture that’s been heavily criticised by supporters, with many suggesting that Neil Lennon only got the job in 2019 because of his friendliness with the board.

However, Celtic aren’t going to go into the staff market to arrange a temporary signing for a coach. It just doesn’t happen. Ultimately, they need safe options behind John Kennedy. Stephen McManus is the definition of that; a largely uncontroversial figure who knows the club inside-out.

In the end, McManus and Kennedy will most likely return to their previous roles. That said, it’s still an audition of sorts for the former Celtic captain, who’ll be tasked with helping to lead first-team training for the first time in his coaching career. That’s a big step up, especially since Reserve football has been off for months, due to Covid-19.

It’s an exciting development for McManus, who no doubt sees himself as a future manager. Whether that’s at Celtic, or elsewhere, remains to be seen.

READ MORE: What’s the story with this Celtic staff member?