Who will be named the next Celtic manager?
There’s a vacancy at Celtic Park after Neil Lennon called time on his second stint with the Old Firm club – with plenty of interesting names jockeying for position.
Here’s our look at the runners and riders to take up one of the biggest posts in Scottish football…
Next Celtic Manager | The Main Contenders
Will Celtic rip things up and start again with an appointment from outside the Scottish game? The early favourites suggest that might well be the strategy…
He’s young, progressive, plays enterprising football… and he’s available.
While a Premier League relegation on his CV with Bournemouth last season may have hampered his chances of landing a top tier job back in the EPL, his work ‘in the round’ over a decade with the Cherries should make him a candidate of firm interest for the Celtic board.
Howe looks the right fit if the aspiration is to implement a new long-term project and playing philosophy at Celtic Park.
That means patience could be required with this appointment, given the 43-year-old has never played or managed outside of England. He could also bring a trusted No. 2 alongside him given his regular sidekick Jason Tindall was recently relieved of his managerial duties at Bournemouth.
Howe would be the exciting choice – but it’s also a major risk for both parties.
The statement signing that would really get pulses racing in Glasgow.
Rafa is a free agent following the end of a largely unmemorable stint with Chinese Super League club Dalian Professional FC. His arrival at Celtic Park would instantly electrify the Old Firm rivalry as it would see the Spaniard go toe-to-toe with former protégé Steven Gerrard.
The 60-year-old is also something of an old romantic when it comes to his choice of club, tending to take up managerial with clubs renowned for fanatical fanbases: Liverpool, Newcastle and Napoli to name a few.
It’s easy to see why this post would appeal to a man who loves to be loved, but could Celtic offer him the financial package required for him to take the plunge?
The ‘safe pair of hands’ appointment… but would the timing be right for Clarke?
The Scotland manager has earned the right to be shortlisted given his exploits in leading the national team to a first major tournament since 1998.
It’s possible Clarke could take on a dual club and national role in the interim ahead of Euro 2020 if a compromise could be worked on that meets the interests of both Celtic and the Scottish FA.
However, it’s hardly an ideal situation for both parties. That plan could instantly backfire given whoever comes into Celtic Park will probably be in for a hefty rebuilding job this summer.
Could Clarke really fight fires on two fronts?
The ultimate football nomad has plenty of plus points on his CV to make him attractive to the Celtic board, but there might be cause for concern among the powers-that-be that AVB has never stayed longer than two years with any club he’s managed to date.
The fallout from his exit from Marseille could also rule him out the running if Celtic are looking for a calm head to steady the ship.
Could the Lampard/Gerrard debate enjoy a new lease of life in Glasgow?
It might still be just a bit too soon for Lampard to make a return to the frontline as he continues the post-mortem into his Chelsea downfall after a promising debut year with the Blues.
The glare of the Glasgow media might also give Lamps pause for thought after a bruising few months at Stamford Bridge, given his next career move could be make-or-break for his managerial reputation.
Keano is reportedly interested in a return to management, and surely wouldn’t be able to pass up the opportunity to return to a high-profile rub with the club where he won a domestic double before he retired as a player in 2006.
He’s a Celtic supporter and would throw himself into the role with his customary passion, but there would be also major reservations over his appointment after a decade away from management and the fact the club might be seeking a complete change of approach after the Neil Lennon era.
Could the Belgium boss be tempted by a return to the Scottish top flight?
The Spaniard is probably still holding out for one last tilt at international glory with his Belgian golden generation but dabbled with life in the top flight in a short spell with Motherwell in 2001/02.
At 47, Martinez arguably needs to get back in the club game sooner rather than later. If his next destination is Celtic, they might have to muddle through with a stopgap until the summer given the former Everton boss is unlikely to want to miss out on the chance to lift major international silverware at Euro 2020.
Finally, could Celtic look a little closer to home by taking a chance on Ross?
The 44-year-old has quietly been building an impressive reputation at the Hibernian, with the Hibees looking a safe bet to finish best of the rest this term. He might not be the glamour appointment most Bhoys fans would hope for, but he would have the immediate knowledge of the league required to carry out a rapid turnaround job.
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