For the first time in ten years, it feels like Celtic are in a slump.
This season was supposed to be about ten SPFL crowns in a row but very rarely does football follow the script.
Instead, Rangers have surged ahead at the summit of Scotland’s pyramid and are 11 points clear of their arch-rivals. The Hoops may have two games in hand but things are looking unlikely for another successive title.
It’s difficult to suggest that Celtic have things rough. They have won treble after treble and are enjoying one of the most successful periods in their history.
It’s remarkable, therefore, that Neil Lennon could receive the boot.
After their 2-2 draw with Hibernian last weekend, the pressure ramped up even more on Lennon. Reports claim he won’t leave and that he still has the support of the club’s board, which includes CEO Peter Lawwell.
Of course, it would be incredibly drastic to sack a manager after a few bad results in a league where the team have won numerous back to back titles, but it sums up the ruthless and cutthroat nature of football.
The ex-Bournemouth manager was relegated with the Cherries last term and consequently left his beloved south-coast side behind. However, he is highly thought of in the British game, being hailed as “special” by Brett Pitman, and would surely relish the opportunity to manage such a big club.
A young head coach, there are similarities to be drawn between him and Brendan Rodgers.
First and foremost, they both have an emphasis on vibrant possession-based counter-attacking football.
In 2018/19, a season where Bournemouth finished 14th, they amassed the 11th greatest pass success rate in the Premier League. Most importantly, though, was their league-high nine goals that were scored on the counter-attack. The team behind them, coincidentally, was Rodgers’ Leicester side.
Of course, performances dwindled last season under Howe but he also has a track record of nurturing young players – something Rodgers did to brilliant effect at Parkhead.
Take the likes of Aaron Ramsdale, Jordan Ibe, Dominic Solanke, Ryan Fraser and David Brooks – all players that Howe brought to the club when he was at the Vitality Stadium.
It needs to be said that Howe is still inexperienced but crucially, he is a coach, rather than a man manager – he’d be the polar opposite to Lennon. That can only be a good thing in their pursuit of ten titles in a row.