Who are the managers in line for the Celtic job?



With the official announcement that Ronny Deila will depart Celtic at the end of the season after two years in charge, the Premiership side are now on the lookout for a new manager and this appointment has massive consequences off the field as well as on it.

The performances and form of Celtic under Deila has been poor, despite them leading the league by eight points over second placed Aberdeen. With five games in hand, the uncertainty and real threat from Aberdeen of snatching the title at the last minute is not doing anything for Celtic fans emotions.

Years of downsizing by chief executive Peter Lawwell has seen Celtic look a shadow of their former self as failed European adventures have cost the club millions – with player transfers supplementing this lost income.

The fans are not only disillusioned with the football on show, the players in the jersey and the management team, they are also infuriated with the transfer policy at the club and Peter Lawwell’s part in it all.

Going forward the appointment of Deila’s successor needs to make waves. The time for a project is over, Celtic need to appoint an experienced manager along with a backroom team that will rock the boat and inspire at the same time.

The deadwood needs to be cleared out, those who allegedly undermined Deila in the dressing room and ran to the press need to be weeded out and ditched as no player(s) is bigger than the club. It needs a strong manager to do that.

Above all the new manager needs to inspire the fans to return to Celtic Park with entertaining and attractive attacking football.

So who are the potential candidates to replace Ronny Deila?

David Moyes

The former Everton and Manchester United manager is the bookies favourite to get the job, but Celtic will need to make an approach quickly if Moyes is the board’s number one candidate as relegated English Premier League side Aston Villa are sniffing around the former Celtic defender.

Moyes has a wealth of experience down in the English game and is seen as the big name signing for Celtic, but despite ill-fated spells at Man United and latterly Real Sociedad he could very well be the man to replace Deila.

The question is though will he be able to bring attractive football and quality players to the club that will see fans return in their droves? Will he manage to lead Celtic to titles and Champions League qualification?

There are still question marks over Moyes’ European pedigree and the fact he has not known what it means to win a title. His wage demands as well as transfer budget requirements could prove to be the stumbling block to Celtic’s pursuit of their former player.

Neil Lennon

Ronny Deila’s predecessor has intimated his willingness to return to Celtic Park after he was sacked by Bolton following an unsuccessful 17 month spell. While many will point to Bolton’s financial issues, the fact that he failed to do anything of note at Bolton should serve as a warning to Celtic’s board as they look to appoint a manager to take the club forward.

Yes Lennon has been there and done it, but he has also had massive cup defeats under his belt while at Celtic and despite one great season in the Champions League as Celtic reached the last 16 of the competition – and beating Barcelona 2-1 at Celtic Park – his European pedigree is nearly as bad as Deila’s.

But should Celtic re-appoint the Northern Irishman after his exit two years ago?

In my opinion, he is a safe appointment, but is no better than Deila as the stats testify to. We know what Lennon is all about and he knows the club in and out, but his ideas and game plans don’t set the heather alight – they certainly don’t inspire me to rush out and buy a season ticket.

He will be the darling of an element of the support and they will want his return, but is he the man to take on the board and primarily Peter Lawwell? Can he make demands of the board and have them agreed to? I doubt it very much. He quit the club previously because he wasn’t getting his own way in terms of a transfer budget and top players being sold – so this is a sign that Lennon could very well be another board stooge and it is not what the club needs now.

The club needs its foundations rocked to the core and Lennon isn’t the man to do it, despite his former playing style.

The off field issues surrounding Lennon are also not needed at the club now, but above all a manager should not be re-appointed after he turned his back on the club because he didn’t get his own way in the first place.

Roy Keane

The former Manchester United and Celtic midfielder turned the chance to succeed Lennon down before Deila was appointed, because he felt the club did not want him enough. A polite way of saying they did not want to pay him what he demanded in the way of a wage.

On that alone I would knock the thought of him being appointed back, despite all of Deila’s faults he was a championship winning manager in his homeland [something that Keane isn’t]and he jumped at the chance to become Celtic manager.

Keane’s mentality and comments stink of him thinking he is bigger than the club. Sadly for him his managerial career does not equal his playing career and that should count against him as he is considered for the Celtic job.

He is a big name appointment though despite failures at Sunderland and Ipswich and could very well be Dermot Desmond’s man again and an element of the Celtic support. But this is an appointment ruled by the heart rather than the head.

His temperament also caused division at Sunderland and Celtic don’t need this at a time when the players need to unite behind the new manager and his methods.

Michael O’Neill

The Northern Irish manager’s stock cannot be higher after leading the province to their first major tournament in 30 years. He has knowledge of the Scottish game having played for Dundee United and Hibernian among others. But his managerial career consists of two years at Brechin City, three years at Shamrock Rovers before taking on the Northern Ireland job in 2011.

The fact that he will lead the province to the Euros this summer could very well be the stumbling block to his appointment at Celtic as they need to bring someone in as soon as the season ends to get ready for the Champions League qualifiers in July [IF Celtic see out the season top of the table that is]. Another issue is that the Irish would need to be compensated by Celtic financially – unlike Moyes and Lennon who are currently out of work.

Paul Lambert

Currently manager of English championship side Blackburn Rovers, the former Celtic midfielder is another ex-player who would be nothing more than a ‘decent’ appointment at best.

He did well at Norwich City, but the spell with Aston Villa has knocked his standing in the game down somewhat but he is trying to rebuild that at Ewood Park – currently sitting 17th in the league.

Again the issue of compensation would be on the table for Celtic to pay and his lack of European experience as a manager could count against him also – despite his credentials as a former Celt.

Brendan Rogers

Named by journos and bookies alike simply because he is out of work and is a big name. In my opinion, I cannot see Celtic appointing him as manager as they would need to break the bank when it comes to the transfer kitty.

He does have vast experience in the English Premier League with Swansea and Liverpool, almost leading the Anfield side to the title with only a ‘Gerrard slip’ preventing that from happening.

Seemingly he has rejected five job offers since his departure from Liverpool and despite showing an interest in managing in the Premier League again – would he run the risk of moving to the Scottish game and Celtic with only the chance of performing in Europe to get noticed by chairmen in the English top flight?

Another one who would not command a compensation fee, but his own wage demands and that of a sizeable transfer kitty could prove a major no-no for the board.

Henrik Larsson

The Celtic legend was first choice for the vacant manager’s job last time round and while the Swede has stated his desire to become manager at Celtic Park one day, he is currently manager of Helsingborgs IF and is still learning his trade with nothing of note happening so far in his managerial career.

His appointment would see a return of fans in their droves simply because of who he is and of his stature at Celtic Park as a player – but look what happened to Ally McCoist at Rangers. Larsson would run the risk of ending up like McCoist – starring in bookies ads alongside Chris Kamara.

Larsson is not ready for the Celtic job.

Other names

A number of other names have been listed as potential candidates, these include former Cardiff City manager Malky McKay, Houston Dynamo gaffer Owen Coyle, Hibs manager Alan Stubbs and Dundee boss Paul Hartley.

None of these appointments would inspire the fans to return to Celtic Park and while all have played at Celtic, the club can no longer afford to appoint a manager simply because of his past playing career at the club or his support of the club.

So who is it going to be?

Celtic-minded is no longer a necessity as part of a Celtic manager’s CV, although for some it would help. The board will look to cover all the bases and that means a manager who has played for Celtic, who is a big name and will hopefully inspire the fans to return by playing the ‘Celtic way’. But without the need to spend big despite the fans calling for sizeable investment to rebuild what is a poor side.

He may eventually decide his career is in the English game, but I would hope that David Moyes gets the job as the others named – bar Rodgers – are either uninspiring appointments or accidents waiting to happen.

Time will tell if the board go for Moyes, but they’d better pull their finger out asap otherwise he could be out of their reach sooner rather than later.


About Author


Andy Muirhead is the Editor of Scotzine and the Scottish Football fanzine FITBA. He is the Scottish Football columnist for The Morning Star and has written for a number of other publications including ESPN, Huffington Post UK, BT Life's a Pitch and has had his work featured in the Daily Record, The Scotsman and the Daily Mail.

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