Former Celtic star talks up Alex Neil credentials; Bhoys considered him in 2019

By John McGinley

March 1, 2021

Former Celtic goalkeeper Jonathan Gould has been talking up the coaching abilities of Alex Neil, a boss that the Bhoys considered for the managerial job back in 2019.

Neil is currently at Preston North End, where he’s enduring a difficult season that has been less successful than they’d have hoped.

The Lilywhites currently sit in 13th position in the English Championship, well behind play-off and promotion places.

Gould, however, is a huge admirer of his work, having coached alongside him at Deepdale last season.

Speaking to The Glasgow Times over the weekend, the former shot-stopper said: “Alex’s detail, the way he prepares his teams, is impeccable.

“I have had the privilege of working with a lot of good managers as a player and as a coach. Alex is one of the few coaches who can come up with his strategy on a Monday and can translate that onto a football field on a Saturday.”

“He doesn’t do it just by using a whiteboard or a powerpoint, he does by coaching the lads from Monday to Friday. It is quite a rare quality. It says a lot about him as a student of the game and how much he thinks about football. He has got a certain quality that has seen him be successful.

“He has done remarkable jobs with all of the clubs he has been at. I think he is well suited at some point, although I am sure Preston North End won’t be happy to lose him, to work at a big club. He has got that in him somewhere down the line.”

Alex Neil has been on the Celtic radar before

We know that the Celtic board have an awareness of Neil and his work as a manager.

The Daily Mail reported back in March 2019 that he was one of the contenders to take charge of the Bhoys in the wake of Brendan Rodgers’ departure.

Neil has been in the management game since way back in 2013 but is still only 39. In that time he’s had some notable achievements.

He guided Hamilton Academical to promotion back in 2014, beating Terry Butcher’s Hibernian in the Scottish Premiership play-off final.

After a stellar start to the season following their top-flight return, he was poached by Norwich City, where he also found success. The Canaries were flying in the half-season after his arrival, winning 17 of their 25 games.

Alex Neil at Preston / (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Neil masterminded a play-off win over rivals Ipswich Town to make it to Wembley and the play-off final, where Norwich beat Middlesbrough.

A season in the Premier League followed but he couldn’t save them from relegation and was dismissed the following campaign.

He has been in charge of Preston since the summer of 2017, but could it be time for pastures new?

The Celtic support may not buy into Neil as the most fashionable choice, but we’ve been linked with worse managers in recent days.

In other news, there’s been more loan disruption for Celtic youngster Scott Robertson.