Branching out for the right candidate

Right now, Celtic resemble a wounded animal. Not a fighting one, but a limp, confused beast licking its wounds.

We’re four matches from the end of the season in a title race which has yet to be decided. It will also soon be the end of another chapter at Celtic Football Club.

Our fall guy, Ronny Deila, is the only one so far to be out of a job in this summer. Though the problems lie beyond his appointment or his errors.

As you’ll have read elsewhere on planet Celtic, we don’t exactly know who does what at the club right now. We can only guess and however wild those guesses may be, most Celtic fans are on the same page for the first time in a couple of seasons.

The Deila dilemma split us, pitted our opinions against each other whilst the men in suits toyed with our team, our club and our way of life. A sequence of recent events that have brought us together once more.

You might not feel it yet, but Celtic fans are uniting once more. Not in rebellion, but for the greater good.

I/we may not have agreed on certain matters these past two seasons. The one thing we can identify with though is that our opinions were to see Celtic succeed on the football pitch.

As fans it is our job to support what we see on the field of play. Sometimes we don’t like it and we let our feelings be known.

We don’t always win, but that is football. If the club is doing its best to bring that to us then that’s fine, but…they haven’t.

My defensive stance on Deila was because I felt he as a coach he was giving and doing his best. For the most part, the players have backed him and even now in the wake of his departure, most of them still do.

Doesn’t that tell you something? Player support for their manager who has decided to quit?

I don’t just think they’re towing the party line. There is obviously respect for Ronny among many of the players.

The ones who don’t have that respect have yet to speak. I’m sure we’ll hear from them in good time.

If the team is split then that’s an issue. Much points to divisions with the club and not just within the squad.

As fans we are all pretty much united in thought that a fresh approach is now required. Many things have led us down this path though, not just the departing Norwegian.

There have been some thought provoking blogs online in the Celtic community recently. Key questions and thoughts have been filtering into the Celtic community.

As rough as things have been, I feel this episode had to happen. Things had to run their course, even at the cost of a humiliating defeat to the Ibrox tribute act.

Celtic Football Club is one of the worlds biggest clubs. Fan base, community and a proud history is at the heart of everything we are today.

We have to move forward though. There will be times when we have set backs, peak and trough, but as long as we recognise that we can recover.

It isn’t always rosy in the garden. You would be living in wonderland if that were the case.

Still, you have to be be prepared for the worst and enjoy the good times. Celtic have succeeded in keeping things going despite the poor football climate which we are bonded to.

Now with progress suffering a setback, it is time to show that we are indeed prepared. A new manager/coaching team is on the cards but the club’s stewards must do more to ensure success.

There has been a sense of complacency since the demise of Rangers. With the emergence of The Rangers, you get a feeling that with all the media attention, a switch has come on at Celtic Park – it has amongst the fans.

We need a new approach and with a squad the size and mixed quality of ours, someone needs to assess the entire stock. Too many mistakes have been made on the transfer front and at a time when we have been said to cutting back we actually appear to have wasted a lot of resources.

Peter Lawwell once said at an AGM that “you can’t get them all right” or words to that effect. That’s all well and good Peter, but our bad buys/loans outweigh the good ones by some way.

So whoever comes through the doors at Celtic Park next has to be of the stature that can turn things around at the club and the players as well as the fans can all feel satisfied with. To secure the right man, there must also be the right package, which has been a stumbling block for the club in the past.

The current bookies favourite is former Celtic defender David Moyes. He’s been linked with the job in the past but there is one difference this time around.

Not because he is currently out of work, though obviously that does help. It’s because his stock has fallen since his days as Everton head coach.

His brief tenure at Manchester United has made Moyes more obtainable. His latest sacking from Real Sociedad even more so.

For many this may make him unappealing but he is an experienced coach. He is also certain to be looking to get back in the game.

Next on the list is another ex-Celtic defender who has had similar career pattern. Malky Mackay, honed his playing and managerial skills south of the border just like Moyes.

He too had a fall from grace recently albeit in totally different circumstances. Following his sacking from Cardiff City, he was named in a dossier sent to the English FA regarding offensive text messages.

This hampered his application for the then vacant role at Crystal Palace which he pulled out of. Despite that he was successful in obtaining the Wigan Athletic post, though this was not well received.

The problem with Malky is not his managerial credentials. His character has now been tainted by those text messages and it would be a difficult to overlook before even considering his skills and abilities for the hot seat.

Another ex-Celt making up that list is none other than Neil Lennon. There is no doubt in my mind that he should never have left Celtic when he did.

He left as a player, returned as a coach, took up the caretakers role and progressed to the permanent head coach. At the time, he was the right man for the job and even had some good players and success as well.

During that time he would be subjected to the most horrific abuse any professional coach or player has ever receieved in the British Isles. For that reason alone, he owed us nothing and simply slipped away.

I was disappointed of course and wanted him to carry on his Celtic career. It is possible he may feel there is unfinished business at Celtic but for me his time has passed and the task should go to someome new.

Although not a new addition to the list of candidates, Steve Clarke would be someone totally new for Celtic. There is no doubt about his coaching credentials but I am unconvinced about his ability to be a manager.

He has performed both roles and each have had their positives and negatives. It has to be said though that I don’t think he is the type of personality to take on a job of this size.

So would I feel that Michael O’Neill would fit the mould for Celtic? Absolutely, but I doubt whether he would be a) available and b) affordable.

His managerial career has taken him from Brechin City to Shamrock Rovers but now he resides in the Northern Ireland role where he has succeeded in taking the national side to their first major tournament in 30 years. That has undoubtedly brought him to the attention of many clubs but Celtic happen to be in the hunt right now.

Like I said though, he has a job and a tournament which he is tied to right now. Any chance of Celtic have of luring him would involve waiting until the European Championships are finished (or Northern Ireland’s involvement) and a compensation package to release him from his contract.

Both of these are drawbacks on finance and preparations for next season. And dare I say it, the Champions League in particular.

One surprise candidate is the emergence of Gary Caldwell. ‘Heid’, as he was affectionately known to Celtic supporters has done a rather fine job at Wigan Athletic in the last year.

Promotion is almost certainly sealed to the Championship but they may also finish as League One Champions. Whether it would be deemed too early in his managerial career to take on a job like the Celtic one, his efforts have not gone unnoticed.

The one name we weren’t surprised to see again was that of Roy Keane‘s. He was said to have turned down the Celtic job before Ronny Deila was offered it
in 2014.

If that was indeed the case I can’t see what would have changed for him to take it this time around. Particularly when the rumour included lack of transfer funds.

Other names on the bookies list are Paul Lambert (probably not interested), Ryan Giggs (not for me), Steve Evans (would bite our hands off, Brendan Rogers (unlikely), Martin O’Neill (very unlikely), Henrik Larsson (not enough experience), Alan Stubbs (not enough experience), Roberto Martinez (unlikely) and Alex Neil (possibly if out of a job this summer). After that you’re drifting into 40/1 territory with guys like Gordon Strachan, Mick McCarthy or Owen Coyle.

Having said that, I’m fairly certain Ronny Deila wasn’t even on the bookies list to succeed Neil Lennon so the man we get ay not even have been mentioned. We didnt know who he was at the time, but we certainly know now.

Who is your realistic favourite for the job? And why do you think they would be good for Celtic?

Hail! Hail!

Stevie Mac

One thought on “Branching out for the right candidate

  1. We should move heaven and earth to get Moyes and his team in, five year contract with a clear plan on what funds will be available for him with group stage qualification. Five league titles, a few domestic cups and a couple of last 16 qualifications should be the realistic target given to him and he should relish that. HERE WE GO 10 IN A ROW!!


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