Celtic must answer the big Richard Hughes question after promising update

By David Walton

May 23, 2021

It really is flying under the radar, but after it seemed like it wasn’t going to be the case, Celtic could very well bag Richard Hughes after all.

The Bournemouth technical director is one of three staff members at the Cherries that Eddie Howe reportedly wants to bring to Celtic Park [Daily Record]. This comes after it was initially reported that Hughes was unlikely to follow Howe [Scottish Sun].

What’s unclear, however, is what role Hughes will carry out should Celtic sign him up. As things stand, Celtic have no Director of Football in place. It had been reported that Howe wanted Hughes to fill that role when he was first linked with the job [Glasgow Live]. That would appear to be the most plausible option then, but it still isn’t ideal for a manager to pick his DoF regardless.

Or it could perhaps be the case that Hughes joins as the club’s new Chief Scout. That’s the role he worked in during his time with Howe, with Celtic in real need of overhauling their scouting department.

The title of his position, should he join, will be made clear. That goes without saying. However, what Celtic need to do afterward is to actually outline his mandate to supporters and let us know what he’s responsible for.

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There’s a reason the Celtic support’s criticism this season felt so scattergun. There’s a reason Dermot Desmond, Peter Lawwell, Neil Lennon, Nick Hammond, Gavin Strachan and John Kennedy all got plenty of stick. It’s because there was a lack of accountability or clarity in what each individual was responsible for.

Celtic and Richard Hughes could be about to team up, but what will it actually look like?

The Director of Football position, for example, is so vague. It’s different for every football club, who tailor the role specific to their own needs. Celtic haven’t provided any details on what the incoming DoF, if we even appoint one, is going to be responsible for.

If Hughes comes in, he looks more than likely to take that role. But Celtic fans need to then be made aware of his responsibilities. Is he the man who’ll be identifying potential targets? They’re effectively a buffer between the manager and a coach, but what actually comes with that?

Richard Hughes back in 2000, playing for Bournemouth / (Photo by AllsportUK/Allsport)

Transfers will generally be the DoF’s chief merit. But how will the Howe/Hughes partnership work in that regard? Who’s making the final say or is it going to be a joint effort? Will he be tasked with outlining a long-term strategy for the football club? And will he even stay when Howe departs considering he seems to have been hand-picked?

There are so many questions about this potential new role that Celtic need to answer. Of course, that’s if they even fill it. If Hughes was to come in as a chief scout then his role is clear. He would be the prime figure for identifying players and passing them on to the manager.

But accountability and clarity is vital with regards to the new regime. We can’t have another year of Celtic hiding behind the sofa and failing to inform us of who’s responsible for what.

So hopefully we get Howe and Hughes over the line this week. After that, a breakdown of Hughes’ main responsibilities would be most welcome.

In other news, there are no more excuses after Saturday’s development – time for Celtic to appoint Eddie Howe now.