Jackie McNamara tells the story of Jozef Venglos' Celtic appointment

By Euan Davidson

March 30, 2021

According to Jackie McNamara, the Celtic players were “last to know” about the club signing Dr Jozef Venglos.

The much-missed and universally lauded former Celtic manager never won a title at the club. However, he made the Bhoys extremely competitive after the shock departure of Wim Jansen, who stopped Rangers’ 10IAR hopes.

In an exclusive interview with 67 Hail Hail, Jackie Mac told us:

“The players, from my own experience, are usually the last to know. Even back after Wim Jansen left, when Dr Jo [came in], it wasn’t until that morning that we found out.

“The rumours were it was Ruud Gullit at the time, and different other names were banded around, Gerard Houllier… but it came clear it was Dr Jo, when he arrived.”

Jackie Mac, fresh off a semi-final appearance on BBC flagship programme Pointless, is often candid about his time at Celtic. This reveal, though, is a particularly interesting one.

Dr Jozef Veglos takes in the action at Paradise / (Photo by Clive Brunskill /Allsport)

Jackie McNamara on Dr Jozef Venglos puts players’ role in an interesting light

It adds further intrigue, knowing that the players aren’t in the loop. That’s very normal, of course, players anywhere are unlikely to be influential in appointing a manager, letting alone knowing who it’ll be.

It does make you wonder about what it’s like for players, though. They will read the same media as supporters, and so they’ll presumably have their own ideas and preferences. Looking at the touted names for the current Celtic vacancy, the likes of Lucien Favre, Roy Keane etc will enthuse or worry the playing staff to different extents.

Venglos wasn’t a hugely known quantity in Scottish football when he took the job in 1998. He had, though, been the first manager from outside either the UK or Ireland to manage in England’s top flight. Venglos spent the 90-91 season with Aston Villa.

Described as a “lovely man” by his former players, including Craig Burley and Simon Donnelly, Venglos passed away at 84 earlier this year [Guardian].

READ MORE: “A nice way for him to finish”; Celtic great speaks about Odsonne Edouard and the 21-22 season.