The appointment of Lennon’s successor will be Celtic’s biggest decision in a decade

The appointment of Lennon's successor will be Celtic's biggest decision in a decade

This is not a difficult question on an IQ test, but the number of points Celtic has won the top Scottish league over the past nine years.

It was complete and utter domination. During this time they have won the league with an average of 18.67 points. However, this season everything has changed.

The Rangers are back on top and, to put it easily, it wasn’t Celtic’s season. After winning nine straight titles and the elusive decade of dominance in just one season, they have fallen far short of expectations. Club legend Neil Lennon stepped down 18 points behind their rivals in Glasgow on Wednesday. Now the club is faced with the task of appointing a new manager for the second time in two years.

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This is Celtic’s most important leadership position in the past 10 years. The Rangers are on the verge of being crowned champions again, barring an unprecedented miracle, and Steven Gerrard has turned the Gers from almost men to winners on the national and European stage. Not only do Rangers win games, but it’s also exciting to see how we saw that epic 4-3 Europa League win against Royal Antwerp a week ago. Celtic finished last in its group in the same competition.

The Hoops would hate to admit it, but the green eyes of envy are now looking back at Ibrox for the first time in a long time. Lennon still has to be considered a legend despite this season’s failures at Celtic Park as he was the manager who took the title back against Rangers in 2012 after three straight years celebrating the blue half of Glasgow. Norwegian Ronny Deila continued the success before Brendan Rodgers took her to the next level. He won every national cup and was unbeaten in 2016/17.

Now, however, Celtic is at a crossroads and facing a real challenge. You have been pushed out of your place and need to find the right manager for the job, someone desperate to get you back to the top. John Kennedy, the current interim manager, is 7/4 for permanent employment at Betfred, but keep in mind that if he manages 10 games or more, your bet will win. If they don’t give him anything to play for by the end of the season, that might be a smart move.

Elsewhere, Eddie Howe is a serious contender (7/2 with Betfred) who has been unemployed since leaving Bournemouth in the summer and could be seduced back to work by the Scottish giants. However, he may also be saving up for a job in the Premier League after settling on the south coast for the past decade. Current Scottish boss Steve Clarke is also in the running 4-1, but he’s unlikely to throw in the towel anytime soon after leading Scotland to their first major tournament since 1998.

The name that could rekindle a famous rivalry is Frank Lampard (6/1). After leading Chelsea to a top four, his résumé is certainly stronger now than it was when he got the job at Stamford Bridge. But would he be ready to get him on the line for a chance to face his former national teammate Steven Gerrard? It would be a compelling sightseeing experience for any fan of England’s “golden generation”.

Other names currently in the frame are Belgian boss Roberto Martinez (although there’s little chance he’ll drop Belgium for Celtic), Rafa Benitez who is currently unemployed, or maybe even Roy Keane who is too much too Sky’s Studios has felt comfortable lately.

With many names playing around, the Celtic Board is now facing a massive decision. Do you support someone with experience like Benitez, maybe try Howe north of the border? Or are you taking a risk with Lampard? The league title is over this season so waiting until summer to evaluate your options might not be a bad idea, but you need to get them right. The balance of power in Glasgow for a few years may depend on it.


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