The bookmakers have had odds running on Celtic’s next permanent manager for a while now. Despite the odds shortening on a few candidates and others widening, do Celtic already have their man?
Other than having a sense of déjà vu, the more I’ve thought about it, the more I am convinced Neil Lennon will be Celtic’s next permanent manager. All signs are pointing to that happening and I just cannot see past it any more.
I said recently about the convenience of his Hibs departure and the abruptness of Brendan Rodgers’. The two occurrences are just way too convenient.
Even with the outrage we supporters had for Rodgers’ sharp exit to a mediocre Premier League club, the Celtic board didn’t appear as disgruntled. Yes, they made a nice wedge of compensation, but the club have taken it all very well.
Was that Hibs exit orchestrated with Brendan’s impending move to Leicester on the horizon for longer than we thought? There’s certainly been enough chatter in the last year to suggest that this may have been the case.
Many predicted Brendan would be gone in January with rumours abound that some players knew well in advance. This appointment must have been in the ether longer than the period between Claude Puel being sacked and the Midlands club approaching Celtic.
Does Neil still have to prove himself though? Of course he does, though to be fair he was doing a good job with Hibs and I’ll admit, I’ve said I’d take him back no problem.
What I didn’t bargain on was it happening like this or as soon. Neil said the same and most of us have been thinking that perhaps an alternative long term appointment would be more progressive for the club.
The other names mentioned go from the sublime to the ridiculous. The top three are Neil Lennon, Rafa Benitez and Roberto Martinez right now.
Marco Rose and David Moyes are set adrfit. It’s all conjecture really.
I’ve seen Neil’s name at 11/10, evens and odds on. Martinez has had steady odds of around 5/1, but Benitez is now as short as 5/2.
Even with this recent change, I don’t think the Newcastle or Belgium managers will be the next appointment. Neil is well in with the club and I’m certain his appointment has been paved long before Brendan walked away.
I have mixed feelings about this because whilst I love Neil and think he can have a huge impact on the team and the fans, I want to see things develop in Europe. I don’t want to dismiss Neil’s efforts at Hibs or indeed Celtic the first time around, but would it be a backwards step?
The club have taken steps to improve fitness, health and training – with the exception of our injury list. Ronny and Brendan helped evolve things behind the scenes from the point Neil left.
Would all that work be abandoned? And would we have something better to take us forward?
I have no doubts that Neil has more experience now. He has done a good job at Hibs after having a disappointing time at Bolton.
Celtic have to keeping making progress though and I don’t want to go backwards or sideways for that matter. Every time we make a bad appointment we lose ground in Europe.
Benitez would not be a bad choice at all. Martinez I’m a little less enthused about.
If we’ve yet to see Neil Lennon MkII then I welcome it. Let’s not take the easy road for the sake of it though.