"Second to none"; Damien Duff on Celtic interim boss John Kennedy

By Euan Davidson

February 24, 2021

With John Kennedy remaining at Celtic as interim coach, some fans are anxious.

Undoubtedly, Kennedy is associated with the Lennon regime. The former Celtic and Scotland defender has been blamed for the club’s defensive frailties in 20-21.

However, if Damien Duff is to be believed, Celtic have accidentally landed themselves a top interim manager. The former Celtic and Republic of Ireland assistant, has been full of praise for Kennedy in the past. In an interview with The Celtic View in January 2020, Duff spoke enthusiastically about John Kennedy:

“Let me tell you, working with John Kennedy, that man would stay at Lennoxtown until 8 or 9pm at night!”

“I might have said I was getting used to a 9-5 when I first started coaching, but when I moved up to the first-team, I was more from 8am right through until who knows when.”

John Kennedy, interim Celtic coach / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“Class” – Damien Duff has plenty to say about John Kennedy

Additionally, Duff spoke to Open Goal about his ex-colleague’s qualities. In truth, the former Chelsea, Blackburn Rovers and Fulham man’s quotes imply that JK was hamstrung by Neil Lennon.

Duff said:

“I would always end up over-analysing, then end up saying nothing at all. I was always just conscious of, especially when you are working with someone like John… John Kennedy is without doubt one of the best coaches in the world.

“It comes down to detail, his detail is second to none, I’ve never seen detail like it. Some coaches can be like Ray Charles and not see things that are going on in the game whereas John doesn’t miss a trick. He sees the problem, “how are we going to fix it?”. Absolutely frightening.

“Like I said they’d be lost without him. Him and the gaffer, the gaffer is the best man around up there. I worked a lot with John, spent a lot of time late into the night watching games. I guess that I… built a nice bond with him. Listen I sound like his agent, clubs are going to be chasing him but like I said he is so class.”

Given the regard that Damien Duff is held in at Celtic Park, these quotes are incredibly interesting. In that same interview, Duff made it clear that Neil Lennon would handle match-days, so we can guess that Kennedy has his own ideas about team selection and tactics.

While there is trepidation surrounding John Kennedy, the least we can do as supporters is give him a few games. Given the esteem he’s held in, not least by Damien Duff, he deserves a chance in the short-term. While he’s unlikely to be anyone’s top candidate for 21-22, at least we’re in somewhat safe hands for now.

READ MORE: Lennon to exit Celtic Park “within 24 hours”.