Celtic interim manager John Kennedy has spoken about his “auditioning”, but remained keen not to put the spotlight on himself as he disclosed talks with Peter Lawwell and Dermot Desmond.
The caretaker boss will take charge of only his second game as a professional manager this afternoon. He’ll be looking to build on last weekend’s 1-0 win over Aberdeen at Celtic Park.
In the background, there will always be the talking point of whether Kennedy is working towards earning the job permanently. That’s undoubtedly something that the vast majority of supporters don’t want to see.
Yet Kennedy hasn’t once ruled himself out of going for the gig should his audition go well. And as he spoke about the state of play between now and the summer, he again didn’t completely dismiss his hopes of taking the job.
“I know how the club works”
As quoted by the Daily Record, Kennedy said: “I’m honestly not taking myself into consideration because if I start doing that, it becomes about me. It becomes about me showing myself and that might not be what’s right for the team and the club at this time. Everything I do is what I think is the right thing for now, and I’ll do that the best I possibly can.
“In terms of auditioning, I’ve been here for a period of time. I know how the club works, how the people work within it. I’ve very much had a great time here, but for this time I’ve got to very much focus on what I need to do on a daily basis and leading into games, and do what I think is the right thing for everyone. And just park my own ambition, my own ego to the side and deal with what comes my way.
“I’ve spoken to both Peter Lawwell and Dermot Desmond over the last week and a bit and they’ve been great, very supportive. They understand the position we are in. Ultimately when things don’t go so well at a club this size then people go for victims, they go on the attack and ‘what’s the problem’. They are experienced guys, they have the club at heart and ultimately will make the right decisions for the club.”
No circumstances should see Celtic appoint Kennedy; Lawwell and Desmond owe supporters
Celtic supporters will have a real fear that this is a possibility. That the Celtic board will use any strong run Kennedy has to take the cheap option once again. Give it to a manager who is simply just delighted to be given the opportunity.
Even if there is some downsizing to do this summer, that shouldn’t halt a high-quality manager being brought in. It’s essential that the rebuilding job at Parkhead is placed in the hands of a tactician with a track-record. A manager who will excite the supporters and really bring an optimistic atmosphere to the club before he’s even had his first training session.
Kennedy may very well be a fine manager one day. He’s certainly done his training given the plethora of roles he’s been given during his 12 years or so carrying out backroom duties at Lennoxtown.
Parkhead departure makes sense
But the right thing for John is for him to depart the club this summer and cut his managerial teeth elsewhere. He’s highly-valued at Celtic – that much we know. But it’s important to remember he’s clearly well thought of elsewhere too. It wasn’t long ago he was turning down the managerial role at Hibernian [Scottish Sun]. There will be opportunities for Kennedy should he decide to step into management.
However, Celtic must remember both the size of the club and its obligation to supporters. Handing it to Kennedy because of a run of wins would be sheer negligence. It would be naive to think he’s shown he’s cut out for the job needing done this summer and beyond. Especially considering he was Neil Lennon’s assistant manager.
We all want John to win his remaining games and secure the Scottish Cup for a historic fifth consecutive time. But no matter what he achieves, it shouldn’t have any effect on his chances of getting the job here permanently.