"Brilliant", but needs time: former Celtic man Mark McGhee gives Eddie Howe verdict

By Euan Davidson

January 23, 2021

Celtic have been consistently linked to Eddie Howe. The former Bournemouth manager has been the talk of Hoops fans for weeks, with Newcastle United hovering.

The Bhoys’ board might need to act fast to secure Howe’s services. According to Mark McGhee, it’ll then be a test of patience as the English manager implements his style.

McGhee, the former Aberdeen and Motherwell boss, clearly reads 67 Hail Hail. In our articles supporting the potential appointment, we’ve said that Howe would need support and time to fully integrate his methodology at Celtic.

He’s the kind of manager who will want root and branch restructuring. At Bournemouth, he earned the keys to the club, helping to modernise the South coast side. It worked, with the Cherries rising up the leagues and establishing themselves as a Premier League club.

McGhee told the PLZ Soccer Football Show:

“Eddie Howe is your modern coach. Many of the sorts of things Brendan would have been doing, Eddie would continue that.

“I don’t know if he’s the kind of guy that would come in and turn it around this season and suddenly start catching Rangers. I don’t know if that is his effect.

“Eddie Howe would be a brilliant appointment, but I don’t expect him to start winning the league this season or maybe next season.

“It would take Eddie Howe time to really implement his methodology.”


Former Celtic striker Mark McGhee and Ronny Deila / (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Howe no? Celtic and Eddie Howe have matching timelines, a move makes sense

With Celtic struggling monumentally this season, it’s clear that sweeping changes need to be made. To appoint a manager with a view to the next year or two would be potentially catastrophic.

A lot of the good work done by Brendan Rodgers has been undone. Scouts like John Park have moved elsewhere, and many of our transfer targets are based on nostalgia.

Yes, Rodgers left us hurriedly and disrespectfully. Credit where it’s due, though, he brought in his own people, bought well (generally) and standards around the club improved. Lennon’s recruitment in his first spell was broadly excellent, but he hasn’t had quite the same joy recently.

From a tactical perspective, Lennon’s squad essentially had to unlearn a lot of the techniques Rodgers preferred. Celtic under Rodgers were insistent on playing the ball out from the back, using width and constantly pressurising opposition out of possession.

Under Lennon, it’s not like the football is agricultural, but it’s certainly more direct. There’ll be players from both the Rodgers and Lennon eras who would be able to adapt quickly. For others, it might be much harder. Like when Celtic faltered against Lincoln Red Imps in Rodgers’ first game, a new manager like Eddie Howe might face bumps in the road, as a new style is developed.

Mark McGhee gets a lot of stick from some quarters of Scottish football, and we don’t always agree with him. On this, though, he’s right. If Celtic are to make a move for Eddie Howe, it’ll need to come with the realisation that there are initial caveats.

Still, the fans want a different approach. If Howe is truly given the reins at Celtic Park, then it could work. If he’s hamstrung by the board, problems may occur.

Those problems can’t really be much worse than what we’ve seen this season, though.

Talking of ex-Celts, here’s another who had plenty to say.