After a rocky few months, Neil Lennon has finally left Celtic with their ten-in-a-row dreams in tatters. A season that promised so much for Celtic fans has ended with Old Firm rivals Rangers on target to stroll to title success with Celtic languishing in 2nd, well off the pace, and needing to appoint their next manager to pick up the pieces, with the odds suggesting some interesting names are in the frame.
Another poor European campaign saw Celtic fail to qualify for the Champions League group stages, closely followed by a dismal Europa League performance. Scottish Cup success gave some hope for the Celtic fans but the new year saw Celtic being knocked out of the League Cup by Ross County and another Old Firm defeat at the hands of Rangers.
Sunday’s league defeat at the hands of Ross County turned out to be Lennon’s final act as Celtic manager. There’s no doubt it’s a tough job, so who’s next for the hot seat at Celtic Park? We’ve taken a closer look at the odds to become the next Celtic manager and take on one of the most demanding managerial jobs in UK football.
5 favourites to be the next Celtic manager
After injury prematurely ended his playing career, John Kennedy has been part of the backroom staff at Celtic since 2010 – first working as a scout and then coaching the youth sides.
He became first-team coach under Ronny Deila and continued in that role under Brendan Rodgers, before becoming assistant manager when Neil Lennon returned to the top job in 2019.
Kennedy was immediately named as temporary manager and he’s already the bookies favourite to be offered the job full time. Having been an integral part of the management team for this nightmare of a season though, he may not be a popular choice amongst the Celtic fans.
Next Celtic manager odds: 2/1
One name who would be popular with the Celtic fans is Eddie Howe. He’s been out of work since leaving Bournemouth at the end of last season, after failing to save them from relegation to the Championship.
He’s young and ambitious, and ,being a free agent, no compensation would be required – something that might suit the Celtic board in the current financial climate.
Would Howe be able to cope with the intense pressure that the Celtic job brings though? Hoops fans may also worry that, like Brendan Rodgers, Howe may jump ship at the first sniff of interest from a big club down south or interest from the national team.
Next Celtic manager odds: 4/1
This one would certainly get the press excited – the Scotland manager leaving to take on one of the biggest domestic roles.
Clarke excelled at Kilmarnock, steering them to record points totals in the league over two seasons before leaving for the Scotland job. He’s now taken Scotland to their first major tournament since 1998 and he’ll surely want to be in the dug-out for the Euros this summer.
If Celtic did decide Clarke was their man they’d have to bide their time until the summer and stump up the cash to the national side. How he’d be welcomed by the Celtic fans is another matter, with many feeling he lacks the wow factor for a club of Celtic’s stature.
Next Celtic manager odds: 7/1
Frank Lampard would certainly be a wow factor appointment and would bring a tasty matchup against old rival Steven Gerrard across the Old Firm divide. Celtic are one of a range of options for Lampard’s next club.
He’s inexperienced but knows how to handle the big club pressure, following his time unsuccessful spell with Chelsea, and his work in blooding young talent such as Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount was admirable.
He’s another that would cost Celtic nothing in terms of compensation and he could well be tempted north in the hunt for silverware to boost his CV.
Next Celtic managers odds: 9/1
Rafa Benítez is also out of work following his departure from Chinese club Dalian, so the Spaniard would be another compensation-free option for the Celtic board.
The fans’ choice back in 2019 before Lennon was appointed, Benítez would surely be welcomed by the Celtic faithful but does he have any interest for a life in the Glasgow football goldfish bowl?
His wages could also be a stumbling block unless Dermot Desmond splashes the cash to lure him north like he did previously to bag Brendan Rodgers.
Next Celtic manager odds: 12/1