Celtic under John Kennedy: let’s be honest, it’ll be an era that’s pretty quickly forgotten.
No harm to the ex-centre-back. He’s earned his stripes as a coach, developing as a leader behind the scenes at Celtic. When he was named interim manager back in February, it seemed like the natural progression for him. Clearly a much-appreciated figure at the club, his spell has been unremarkable, and history will likely look upon it that way, too.
He does, however, have a big opportunity this weekend. Livingston, our perennial bogey team over the last few seasons, roll into town.
Our record against David Martindale’s side has been appalling. No disrespect to the Tony Macaroni Arena’s tenants, but 1 win in 3 this season is not exactly inspiring stuff. The Lothian side seemed to get under Neil Lennon’s skin like few others.
Our last meeting, in the January snow, finished 2-2, with Scott Brown being sent off [BBC]. It was the late Neil Lennon era in a nutshell: soft goals, set-piece woes, snatching misery from the jaws of victory and foolish, impulsive decisions. I’ve supported Celtic for well over two decades, and as deflating results go, that’s one that lives very clearly in the memory.
Because that was the point that the season was gubbed, in truth. So, it’d be easy to say this match doesn’t matter, that the Premiership doesn’t hold any weight or significance.
But try telling John Kennedy that.
Feel-good factor is slowly coming back to Celtic, John Kennedy must capitalise
With all the recent talk of Eddie Howe, and an uplifting Scottish Cup win at the weekend, things feel eerily optimistic. Yes, we are obligated to say that this season has been an utter disaster. At least, though, there seems enough to be excited about.
John Kennedy’s stateside namesake said in 1959 [GoodReads]:
“The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity.”
It’s nonsense, of course, but let’s say JFK was on to something there; over 60 years later, Celtic can turn find light from the doldrums of the season. Players know they’ve got plenty to be motivated by, provided they want a future at the club. Yes, the league season was a crisis, but Kennedy has an opportunity in vanquishing a particularly irritating foe in Livingston.
A big win do wonders for everyone associated with the club right now.
For Kennedy, it would improve on his admittedly mediocre spell as interim boss. If he’s able to find a way past Livingston, something Neil Lennon failed to do on two out of three occasions this season, then that’s a sign of progress. Moreover, if Celtic can both win and entertain supporters, then there’s optimism about the side going up a gear under Eddie Howe.
More ifs: what if James Forrest builds on his impressive outing against Falkirk? Or, what if one of the many underwhelming performers from this season can actually come on to a game against tough opposition?
There’s a number of scenarios that make this weekend enticing.
For John Kennedy, though, he’s got to prove himself. Beating a side that’s given us so many headaches this season would be a fantastic way of going about it.