Mark Wilson says Eddie Howe should lead Celtic out at Ibrox; urges immediate start

By David Walton

April 6, 2021

Sky Sports pundit Mark Wilson believes that Eddie Howe should start immediately and lead Celtic out at Ibrox next weekend.

Howe is reportedly closing in on a move to become the next manager at Parkhead. But the understanding is that he’ll only start his new job in June [Scottish Sun]. The pros to this are obvious. Howe would be allowed to get to grips with the club outside of having to cope with the severe pressure that comes with an immediate hands-on start.

Despite the fact the 10 is lost, Celtic’s season just got a whole lot more mouthwatering. A trip to Ibrox in the Scottish Cup is next up after Saturday’s home clash with Livingston. It’s a golden opportunity for Celtic to land a real morale blow on our rivals ahead of a huge campaign next year.

And Wilson, speaking on Sky Sports News this afternoon [06/04, 13:21], urged Howe to jump in at the deep end as well as trying to get our big-guns to stay.

“Would like to see”

“Reports are that Eddie Howe is interested in the job but if he does take it, it may not be until the summer. I’m of the opinion I would like to see Howe in Glasgow now, this week and in before the Scottish Cup game against Rangers to give him the best opportunity to assess the squad and maybe try and convince some of these guys who are linked with moves away – Edouard, Ajer, Christie – that perhaps it’s in their best interests to stay under him and a new coaching team.

“I think when Eddie Howe has been spoken to, which we believe he has from Dermot Desmond and Dominic McKay, I think you install Eddie Howe and let him have a say on who he wants to bring in.

“Obviously Richard Hughes has been his close friend and ally over the years and he appears to be the preferred candidate (for Director of Football). Of course he is still under contract. If that could be done, then it would be something Howe would want.”

Eddie Howe leading Celtic out at Ibrox sounds great, but there are pros and cons to an immediate/summer start date

It’s difficult to weigh up just how is best to handle any appointment of Howe in the coming weeks. Even if he’s looking to kick-start his new job in the summer, you can understand those calling for him to take charge immediately.

If he managed to come in and secure two wins at Ibrox plus a Scottish Cup, it’s a monumental boost for the club. It strikes the fear into Rangers and has them ending this campaign dreading what’s to come. However, at the same time, two defeats in derby matches where Howe has minimal control over his playing staff feels unfair.

When Howe takes charge, whenever that is, we want him to go into next season with a wow factor. A struggling start between now and the summer would help nobody. Even if there’s only so much Howe can do, it puts immediate pressure on him if he fails to get early results.

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

It would appear much more ideal for him to be under that kind of pressure with his own team. With some of his own signings bagged and a new backroom team settled into the job.

There’s nothing stopping Howe from watching Celtic between now and the summer. There’s nothing to stop him from taking the odd training session or coming in to get used to his new surroundings either. All the while the spotlight would be on John Kennedy. Nobody else. At least when it comes to on-field matters.

But as for trying to advise the likes of Odsonne Edoaurd and Kris Ajer to stay? It’s time to forget that. No managerial appointment could stop them from wanting to broaden their horizons elsewhere.

In other news, yet another BBC pundit has warned Leigh Griffiths.