What’s going on with Celtic’s manager situation?


It was always going to be a long road back for Celtic when they sacked Neil Lennon back in February.

Their ‘Ten in a Row’ hopes had already been brought to a crashing halt, and it was abundantly clear that they had fallen a long, long way from the days of Brendan Rodgers.

They would have hoped, though, that by the beginning of June, they would at least have taken a few steps on the path to recovery.

But here they are, more than 100 days on, with no manager and no apparent plan on how they are going to take the fight to Rangers next season.

You almost have to sit back and admire the level of boardroom incompetence it takes for a footballing institution like Celtic to get into the position they are now.

With less than two months to go until the start of the new season, they’ve lost their captain, they are about to lose their top scorer, they haven’t even put season tickets on sale yet, and fans are left waiting the result of a plea to UEFA to find out if their latest managerial target – Australian coach Ange Postecoglou – is actually going to be allowed to take the job.

They’ve got here by twiddling their thumbs, burying their heads in the sand, and neglecting to act on anything until it is far too late. Just look at Lennon, who held onto his job for 33 games of the season, despite finishing dead last in their Europa League group and allowing Rangers to build up a lead at the top of the table that had been unassailable for months prior to his eventual departure.

When they did finally get around to replacing Lennon, the season was already dead and buried. They had the perfect opportunity to take their time, consider their options, and get the appointment right.

Eddie Howe

Howe was the early target / Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

What did they do? They threw themselves at Eddie Howe’s mercy, and let the ex-Bournemouth manager take them for a ride.

Their handling of that situation has to be one of the most speechlessly naive and brainless bits of business ever conducted by an elite football club.

Their spineless failure to set and stick to a proper deadline, and their hopeless inadequacy at containing leaks to the media, led to one of the most embarrassing and high-profile organisational disasters Scottish football has ever seen.

It has backed them into a corner where a manager who has never coached in Europe, and doesn’t even hold the requisite coaching badges, is about to be given around six weeks to completely rebuild the squad and take the challenge straight to their dominant rivals across the city.

A foreign coach with a formidable CV and an unflinching commitment to attacking football, it would be refreshing for Scottish football if Ange Postecoglou came good at Celtic.

Everything that’s said about him in Asia and Australia suggests he has all the tools to make it work, and his drive and intensity may be just what they need as they attempt to bounce back from a cataclysmic season.

But you get the sense that he has bitten off more than he can chew.

Not because he lacks the managerial ability, but because Celtic, through their series of inexplicable missteps, have left him with an insurmountable workload, and more pressure on his shoulders than any manager in the club’s recent history.

It’s been just over 100 days since Lennon last left Celtic Park for the final time, but the gross mismanagement shown in that short period alone may have set them back a lot longer than that.





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