Reviewing the other Celtic 'candidates' for DoF role

By Euan Davidson

June 1, 2021

So, it’s not Fergal Harkin for the Celtic Sporting Director/DoF role. Nor was it ever going to be, it turns out.

That leaves the club looking vulnerable, even if the facts don’t match up. After weeks and months of the collective understanding that Harkin was closing in on the new role, we’re in a bizarre position. A man who was never interviewed for a job has “turned us down”, and we’re apparently scrambling around for his replacement.

Very odd times indeed. But we should remember that through all this, Harkin was never guaranteed anything. Nor was he the only “candidate”, according to various reports. So who else has been “linked” with Celtic’s Director of Football vacancy, and who has the best shot at landing it?

Celtic have been linked with Matteo Tognozzi / (Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images)

Matteo Tognozzi: keen on Celtic

Remember Matteo Tognozzi? It legitimately feels like a lifetime ago the Italian was linked with the vacancy at Celtic. According to the Scottish Daily Mail [11/03, p92], Tognozzi was touting himself for a role with Celtic, having worked as the Chief Scout at Juventus.

An exciting seven days for Celtic fans is about to get underway

Tognozzi gained his Sporting Director license at the Coverciano centre, the home of the Italian FA’s coaching school. While there, he finished with aplomb, with his 60-page dissertation described as “meticulous” and “precise” by examiners [Daily Record]. So, that’s pretty cool.

As Chief Scout, he’s had a mixed record at Juve. Of course, the Old Lady missed their own 10IAR target this season. While players like Weston McKennie, Merih Demiral and Dejan Kulusevski have been successes, bigger transfers haven’t quite worked out as planned.

Is he Celtic calibre, though? Absolutely. And while a smaller budget might restrict Tognozzi, the challenge of creating an identity at the club and recruiting shrewdly may just be up his alley.

John Collins celebrates a goal against our rivals in 1994 / (Photo by Allsport UK /Allsport)

John Collins: former Bhoys player and assistant

A more controversial choice, John “Six-pack” Collins divides opinion amongst the Celtic support. His brand of football at Hibs could be scintillating though, and he has experience working at the club as number 2 to Ronny Deila, as well as playing in the Hoops.

However, a Director of Football? It’s a bit of a left-field shout. But it’s one Collins has put himself in the frame for. Self-belief has never really been an issue for the former midfielder.

Collins told BBC Radio ScotlandOf course it would be of interest to me. Celtic’s played a big part in my life but I know there’s a lot of experienced people in for the job.

“It’s a job that would most definitely interest me though. In my opinion I believe I’ve got the skillset but it’s not me that’s going to make the decision. It’s probably going to be Dermot Desmond or the new chief executive and the board of directors I would imagine.”

Does he have the nous and contacts in the game to be a success? Perhaps not. But would he be able to sell prospective players on the club’s vision, as well as imprint his style on the squads within the club. That is harder to deny.

David Webb: an impressive CV

Former Tottenham Hotspur, Bournemouth and Huddersfield Town employee David Webb has a wealth of experience with some top coaches. Mauricio Pochettino and everyone’s favourite, Eddie Howe, have tasked Webb with key responsibilities, in terms of squad integration, monitoring the academies, and taking a lead on recruitment.

Speaking about the role, Webb told the Herald:

“Given their historical success and how they want to build from their academy and build a long-term strategy for the club and still maintain success by winning leagues and cups, and Europe, that would definitely appeal to me.

“You could have someone like myself whose skillset could affect a number of positive areas like recruitment, vision. It’s something that is appealing.”

READ MORE: Hartson sums it up for many a Celtic supporter