In brief: What we now understand about the Celtic managerial hunt
Honestly: what’s happened at Celtic between February and now could fill volumes of books.
This isn’t me pitching a commission, it’s the truth. We may have been kept at arm’s length throughout, but that’s normal to a degree. Because, as it turns out, Celtic did have a list of candidates, interviewed some key names and dramatically had their first-choice ripped away when all looked positive.
Now, as the dust begins to settle on a chaotic day, what can we say with absolute certainty since Neil Lennon left the Paradise dugout?
Eddie Howe had been interviewed by Celtic and was the clear favourite
We’ll get this out of the way first. According to Celtic’s own statement on yesterday’s news [Celtic FC]:
“Following very positive and detailed discussions with Eddie Howe, with the belief that he would be an excellent candidate for the position of Celtic Manager, we allowed time for the process, given he’d previously made it clear he was not looking to return to management until this summer at the earliest.
“We can now confirm that Eddie will not be joining the Club, for reasons outwith both his and Celtic’s control.”
So, there’s that. After literal months of thinking this was a done deal, and the Sun reporting an agreement was reached “in principle”, finer details cost us a fantastic young manager.
The autopsy of this failure will surely go on for years.
Enzo Maresca wasn’t just a left-field shout
Celtic, as it turns out, didn’t have all their eggs in the Howe basket. Other candidates from exotic locales were identified, with Italian Enzo Maresca and Jose Bordalas both interviewed, according to the Daily Mail’s Stephen McGowan. He told the Press Box podcast:
“Enzo Maresca was a very impressive candidate, he was interviewed for the job but he took over at Parma on Thursday.
“Again, that’s one of the consequences of waiting as long as this. Names who may have been in the frame have disappeared.
“They spoke to the coach of Getafe who has joined Valencia now. There were all these kind of names thrown in.”
Celtic could still pull Lucien Favre out the bag
Swiss manager Lucien Favre, most famous for his stints at Borussias Dortmund and Mönchengladbach, is still in with a shout.
The Swiss league winner, who moulded the careers of Marc André ter Stegen, Marco Reus and Erling Haaland, has fans at Paradise, according to the Sun:
“[…] Lucien Favre also has Hoops boardroom admirers and remains a free agent.
“The 63-year-old indicated an interest in the Celtic job months ago and is still out of work after leaving Dortmund in December.
“The Swiss coach is rated highly after sterling work at Borussia Monchengladbach and Nice.”
Given his calibre, and history coaching top talents, Favre would represent a significant coup. In terms of European football, Favre has set excellent standards, and revitalised ailing squads. Don’t rule him out entirely, although his wages could put have put the board off [HITC].
Roy Keane was considered, as were Martin O’Neill and Gordon Strachan
Prior to Neil Lennon leaving Celtic, the board reportedly had a tinge of nostaliga.
According to Kieran Devlin of the Athletic: “the club approached former managers Martin O’Neill and Gordon Strachan about potentially taking over for the rest of the season, and both refused.”
In terms of other ex-Celtic men, Roy Keane had “talks” [Daily Record] with filling the vacancy at Paradise. Keane, of course, played for the Bhoys in the 05-06 season, winning a title under Gordon Strachan.