Celtic managerial snakes and ladders continues; fans left with little substance

By Euan Davidson

April 14, 2021

As ever, the Celtic supporters are being left in the dark.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, always. It’d weaken the club’s negotiating position on well, anything, if we knew everything all the time. More transparency is a good thing, but from what we know about Celtic hiring managers, it takes ages. And there are twists and turns all over the place.

Much like a game of snakes and ladders, it feels as if we have reached the summit of our expectations before some arbitrary hold-up or hitch takes us back to square one. The Eddie Howe debacle is absolute evidence of this: we don’t actually know anything. Not really. One minute, he had “agreed in principle” to join [Sun], then his agent pulled the rug [Sky Sports].

Before Howe-mania, though, Celtic were being linked with everyone. Stoke manager Michael O’Neill [GiveMeSport], David Moyes [Daily Record], Jesse Marsch [BBC], Roy Keane [Daily Mail]. Everyone and their Uncle was betting on names, and giving the bookies reason to dictate the agenda.

So, what’s happened since? Well, inevitably, a few names appear extremely unlikely. Moyes leaving West Ham United at this point in time never looked right. Jesse Marsch is doing a fine job at Salzburg, but will surely be watching the managerial carousel over in Germany with great interest. Roy Keane was “never likely” [BBC].

European reports are also suggesting that Lucien Favre would want nearly double Brendan Rodgers’ wages [Milliyet – Turkish]. So that essentially rules him out.

What now, then?

Dermot Desmond and Peter Lawwell  / (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

If Celtic have put all eggs in basket with Eddie Howe, then there’s reason to be concerned

The line between ecstasy and agony is razor-thin where managerial appointments are concerned. A popular, winning coach lifts the whole culture around a club. After this season, we sorely need reason for optimism. If the board get it wrong, though, the next Celtic manager has enormous pressure on before a ball’s been kicked.

The lack of actual information about how talks have gone with Eddie Howe paints a picture. The popular narrative is that Howe wants his own men in, specifically Richard Hughes, who for some reason, has to be Director of Football [Daily Record]. That’s despite Howe working with a DoF in the past, and knowing that managers don’t make decisions like that.

It seems a stretch.

Yet, that speculation is precisely where we are in regards to a new manager. So if it’s not going to be Howe, then who? The shortlist, however imagined, has dwindled. Beyond John Kennedy, it’s not obvious who Celtic would turn to if the ex-Cherries boss turns us down.

This isn’t a call for picking names out of the hat, far from it. However, it’s a confusing scenario, in which there only seems to be one real front-runner for a club of our size. It’d be easy to suggest Celtic have made a mess of this, but that isn’t based on much of anything, other than the commentary of pundits.

There’ll be more dramatic twists in this story yet. But what we collectively don’t know would fill Celtic Park.

And that, to me, seems unusual. Even by Celtic standards.

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