Why Celtic haven't gotten rid of Nick Hammond yet and when they may do so

By David Walton

March 17, 2021

When Celtic parted company with Neil Lennon, it looked certain some of his backroom team were set to join him.

After all, the likes of John Kennedy, Gavin Strachan, and Nick Hammond were all part of the previous disastrous regime. Kennedy perhaps wasn’t expected to leave right enough given his long-term status at Parkhead and the fact he was named in interim charge.

But the mass level of changes speculated made it look certain that others would join Lennon. Especially with Chief Executive Peter Lawwell also heading out the door for Dominic McKay this summer.

It’s been reported in recent weeks that Celtic are looking to totally overhaul their footballing operation. This looks like including a Director of Football [Daily Mail], a figure that will help shape the philosophy and scouting network of the club.

In other words, a figure that will take Nick Hammond’s responsibilities and run with them as part of his own remit. Hammond, the current Head of Football Operations, is, bizarrely for many, still in the door. Despite being appointed partly due to his relationship with Lennon, he didn’t and still hasn’t immediately departed.

So is Nick Hammond going to leave Celtic then?

Hammond won’t be here in the summer. Not when you consider that his main remit will largely be taken away from him. There’ll likely be no place for him under the new regime, and we can expect him to swiftly part company with the club at the end of the current campaign.

However, it’s clear he’s still got influence for the time being. The signing of Liam Shaw is evidence of this. As is the reported interest in the likes of Kyle Joseph and Kwadwo Baah. Fans have debated who is making these decisions. But it can only be coming from Hammond.

Celtic clearly still trust the Englishman and Chief Scout Gary Penrice to find young talent for the future. After all, knowledge of the English game in particular has always been Hammond’s main strength.

But if we’re starting from scratch and wiping the slate clean, this is only temporary until the summer. Until the new Director of Football comes in and integrates his own culture and his own team.

Nick Hammond at a Celtic match / (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Yes, there’s a chance Hammond continues on in an alternative role. He could, for example, be the DoF’s new chief scout if he was lucky enough. But the chances are any new man will have an idea of who he wants to bring in for key roles like that.

Hammond, meanwhile, is needed to try and continue to revamp the Lennoxtown ranks with promising young talent. Especially given how many high-quality prospects we’ve lost over the last couple of years. The signing of Shaw was clearly his work, as will be any further additions.

But come the summer? Don’t expect Hammond to be here any longer. Celtic need him for the next few months – but not after the restructuring is complete.

In other news, Jesse Marsch has outlined when he wants to make the final decision on his future.