Celtic Director of Football hopeful John Collins believes Eddie Howe must tackle the Hoops managerial job head on and immediately.
Howe is reported to be closing in on a deal to become Neil Lennon’s successor [Scottish Sun]. However, reports this week have suggested that he may not be starting in his new role until June. At least in terms of taking charge of matches.
Celtic have a monumental Scottish Cup fourth-round tie against Rangers coming up at Ibrox in less than a fortnight. It’ll be followed by five meaty Scottish Premiership games to close out the season too. As things stand, interim boss John Kennedy will be taking charge of all of those between now and the summer.
But DoF hopeful Collins [BBC] and fellow Sportsound pundit James McFadden couldn’t understand the idea of Howe holding off. Both men were speaking on BBC Radio Scotland last night, and both passionately urged the new man to get started immediately:
James McFadden: “If you’ve appointed the manager, why wait? Get him in straight away. I know you mentioned that it isn’t his team. Well it is now. If he takes the job, that is his team. He needs to go in and get to work straight away. Why not? Why not come in?
“If he agrees to be Celtic manager he’ll be judged as soon as he walks in the door. It would worry me if a manager says ‘no I’ll leave that game until the end of the season and I’ll take over when it’s my team’. If you’re taking the job, get in straight away and get to work.
John Collins: “I would like to see the manager in place straight away on the training pitch. Getting his principles, his system and his style in place, getting his staff ready to go. Of course there’s Rangers in the semi-final coming up, and another league game against Rangers. I think you’ve got to think positive – what an opportunity for him. It could be the best start.
“He’s then got five weeks to assess those players.”
No calamity if Howe doesn’t begin now; Celtic can do either despite John Collins and James McFadden remarks
It’s difficult to get to grips with why it’s made to be such a big deal should Howe not start immediately. Yes, it could potentially get him off to the best start by beating Rangers twice and potentially winning the Scottish Cup. But that’s a big ask for someone who doesn’t know the team.
By leaving Kennedy in charge, you’re leaving the team with someone who’s familiar with them. A manager who’s been at the club for over a decade in a coaching capacity. If Howe comes in and loses those two derby matches, it takes away some of the novelty surrounding his arrival.
Yes, it sounds ridiculous. After all, why worry about it when you know it’s not truly Howe’s team? It’s the perception that would come from rushing into these derbies under Eddie. If we were to lose them, it puts the whole club under immediate pressure. And let’s not kid ourselves, some fans would even be questioning whether he’s the right man for the job.
Howe should be able to do all the work he currently needs to from afar. There’s nothing to stop him taking a look at them in training from time to time. There’s nothing to stop him watching all of Celtic’s games between now and the summer and judging the squad on that.
He can also begin to kick-start his summer recruitment drive and draw up a list of targets for the club to engage in. There is so much that can be done regarding the rebuild without shoving the pressure of this season’s fixtures onto him.
It would be great if he decided to take over immediately. But should he wait until the summer? It’s anything but a calamity.