Chris Sutton provides honest verdict on Celtic duo John Kennedy and Gavin Strachan

By David Walton

July 1, 2021

Chris Sutton has urged Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou to bring in his own staff and not to rely on John Kennedy and Gavin Strachan.

Postecoglou has already stated that he’ll take his time to assess things at Lennoxtown before making any quick decisions. As of yet, there’s no sign that the new man is on the verge of bringing in any fresh faces into the coaching set-up.

That’s a massive concern for Celtic supporters, who don’t feel they can trust the abilities of assistant Kennedy and first-team coach Strachan. Both men were plagued with being key cogs in last year’s disastrous regime under Neil Lennon. Kennedy would go on to frustrate further in what was a hapless interim spell between February and May.

And Sutton thinks there needs to be a freshness at Celtic as he dismissed the idea that both should be relied upon.

“These guys were part of Neil Lennon’s team”

Speaking on the Record Celtic podcast, Sutton said: “The problem with having a look, that suggests that if you want to make a fair assessment on someone then that might be over a sustained period of time. Celtic don’t have time. We’re a couple of weeks away from a Champions League qualifying game. I do believe he has to bring in his own people. Certainly one or two trusted people he’s worked with before.

“I’m not making accusations, but if things don’t go well, do you think Strachan and Kennedy will want to saddle up with the manager then? I don’t know, I think that’s why you have to have your own people in. Martin O’Neill had John Robertson

“I think that would be a bad move not to bring in an assistant. This isn’t a slight on Kennedy or Strachan, it’s just human nature. Over time he might like these guys. But speaking plainly, these guys were part of the last regime with has been pretty catastrophic. I think the manager carries the can, but these guys were part of Neil Lennon’s team that fell away.”

Chris Sutton bang on; Ange Postecoglou can win Celtic fans’ trust quicker by removing John Kennedy

Many Celtic fans will go along with whatever Postecoglou believes to best for the football club. That’s fine considering it’s the best thing for club unity at the moment.

But the new boss really needs to have a think about this. At the first sign of trouble, keeping on the backroom staff of last season will be the first thing he’s criticised for. I can already see him being called out for not being strong enough to send them on their way or bring his own staff in.

On the flip side, if things take a downward turn with his new staff in place, there will be a greater understanding from the fans regarding patience. Many of us will be willing to give the new regime more time if it doesn’t contain remnants of the old one.

Former Celtic interim boss John Kennedy / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Of course, this may not be how Postecoglou sees things. He may look at Kennedy in particular and think he has all the tools to be a useful asset to him. Plenty of other managers clearly felt the same, none more so than Brendan Rodgers.

But to get a larger chunk of the fans’ trust quicker, Postecoglou could do with bringing in his own team. It would be a signal of strength and would remove any idea that he’s working under constraints.

All we’ve heard so far from Ange and CEO Dom McKay is words. The actions will speak louder, and keeping on Kennedy and Strachan would be a teeth-grinding start.

In other news, Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic to-do list has just grown after Wednesday Instagram