Reported update on Celtic's board intentions

By Dave Flanigan

July 30, 2022

Former Celtic CEO Peter Lawwell has been tipped for a dramatic return to the club to replace the outgoing chairman Ian Bankier.

The club announced yesterday that Bankier, who replaced John Reid as chairman in 2011, would be retiring at the end of the year, with no immediate replacement in the frame.

As reported by journalist Stephen McGowan in The Scottish Daily Mail [30/07 print edition, page 115), Lawwell is the frontrunner to return to the club he left 12 months ago following Celtic’s disastrous 2020-21 season.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Lawwell was CEO at Parkhead for 18 years, with his replacement – former Scottish Rugby CEO Dom McKay, lasting a paltry three months in the role before leaving the club last September, with Michael Nicholson appointed to replace him initially as interim, before being given the role permanently in December.

Not the unifying figure fans would look for

Despite overseeing a period of unprecedented domestic dominance, Lawwell was a divisive figure in his time at Celtic Park, often seen as the face of the club’s perceived lack of ambition and a proxy for the oft-absent major shareholder Dermot Desmond.

His exit, along with that of then-manager Neil Lennon, was seen at the time as something of a new dawn and fresh start for the club, with fresh eyes and new leadership to take Celtic forward in McKay and new manager Ange Postecoglou.

This was short-lived, of course, Nicolson’s appointment was an internal one, with the then-departed McKay not even mentioned in a series of interviews conducted and published by the club for the 2021 AGM last November.

Regardless of his experience and knowledge of the Scottish football landscape, Lawwell would hardly be the unifying figure that fans would look for to replace Bankier, even if it was only on a short-term basis.

Supporters will hope that his potential appointment will not destabilise the goodwill that Postecoglou has brought to the club over the last year, following a season of fructuous club-supporter relations in 2020-21.

With the best part of half a year to go before Bankier’s retirement, you can only hope that that there is nothing in these reports, that due process will be followed, and an appropriate candidate will be selected in due course.

In other news: Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou’s first media zinger of the new season