John Kennedy's big Celtic step has backfired horrendously

By David Walton

May 5, 2021

John Kennedy’s Celtic dream has quickly turned into the most horrid of nightmares as he prepares for his final two games in charge.

Kennedy was given one job – steady the ship. Try and effectively bag some positive results to see us through to the end of the campaign. A Scottish Cup win would also be ideal and certainly would’ve done plenty for his reputation.

When Kennedy took over from Neil Lennon, who left after February’s 1-0 loss at Ross County, we had seven games remaining in the league. Potentially a total of 10 matches had we gone all the way to the Scottish Cup final.

Kennedy’s reputation amongst the Celtic supporters was already at a low point. His image coming across as unsackable, the Hoops fanbase have a general bee in their bonnet about the fact he appears untouchable. Especially considering he was a major part of the horrific Lennon regime in an assistant manager capacity.

But this was his big opportunity. The chance to show he could be a manager in his own right and the chance to show off what he had learned from working under the likes of Gordon Strachan all the way up to Brendan Rodgers. In short – it couldn’t have gone any more disastrously.

Kennedy’s Celtic future looks uncertain after interim spell

It didn’t take long for dreams of Kennedy winning all 10 games going up in smoke. A weak 0-0 draw at Tannadice led to us officially handing over our Premiership crown in pathetic fashion. A week later? We failed to make our chances count in a 1-1 draw against Rangers. That was the first of three derbies Kennedy has already failed to win – including a Scottish Cup exit at Ibrox and the 4-1 embarrassment on Sunday.

Not to mention it took a Leigh Griffiths equaliser in the final minute at Pittodrie to spare us further embarrassment there. With only two matches of the season remaining, Kennedy has only managed three wins in eight games. Two have ended in defeat whilst three have been stalemates.

In addition to that, Kennedy has shown a worrying lack of tactical nous on the sidelines. He’s made baffling substitutions, tactical set-ups, and continued to show sentimentality as opposed to giving other players opportunities.

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

All of this has led to an even greater level of anger from the supporters towards Kennedy. He was supposed to try and reinvigorate this Celtic team in the final weeks. Give us some semblance of hope or at least a winning run to smile about. Win the Scottish Cup or at least end Rangers’ unbeaten league run. There were some glorious opportunities here for Kennedy that he’s failed to take. Not to mention the fact he’s yet to win an away game.

Now, you wonder what role he could possibly get away with. He dreams of becoming a future Celtic manager, but the truth is fans don’t want him near the picture anytime soon. They want total freshness, and Kennedy’s interim reign has only harmed his chances of a place in Celtic’s dugout next season further.

If this interim reign was designed to be Kennedy’s moment to start turning around his relationship with fans, it’s done anything but. The only clarity we now have is that John must be part of the summer cull.

In other news, BBC Sportsound pundits have been bigging up David Turnbull and questioning Nathan Patterson’s SFWA nomination.