As 242 goals in 313 matches will tell you, Henrik Larsson is a Celtic legend. The striker was nothing short of sensational in Glasgow, winning eight major honours.
He took home five Golden Boots and won the SPFL Players’ Player of the Year on two occasions. Respected by his peers and pundits alike, Larsson is a cult hero, someone who was capable of dominating defences in a ruthless fashion.
It’s not often a player moves directly from Scottish shores to Barcelona but that’s exactly what Larsson achieved. Coincidentally, he is now back in Catalonia, where he is playing second fiddle to Ronald Koeman as one of the Dutchman’s staff at Camp Nou.
With the Bhoys on the hunt for a new manager, he is a name who has naturally been talked about as someone who could come to the club. Frank McAvennie isn’t too keen on the idea but Simon Donnelly certainly is.
He said earlier this month: “I’ve gone on on record before Lenny got the job the last time, and last week, saying why would that not excite Celtic fans? Why would it not? I got thrown lack of experience. The guy has had a top career, he has worked under some of the best managers, he is at one of the biggest clubs in the world as a first-team coach.”
Donnelly continued: “People are worrying that his legacy being ruined, but look at it on the flip side if he came here and he was a success they would be building a statue outside of Henrik.”
Of course, the 49-year-old’s lack of experience as a number one should be a cause for concern. He has only ever taken the reins in Sweden and hasn’t achieved anything at a top-level club as a coach or manager.
That being said, if there is anywhere he can feel at home and start to engineer his managerial career for the better, it’s at the club where he became a legend.
The Hoops offer an appealing package to Larsson and, in this instance, both parties need to forget about his legacy. He would have to do a pretty torrid job in order for that to be tarnished. After all, they have already lost their grasp on the Premiership; it can’t get much worse than that.
In the words of his former manager Martin O’Neill, Larsson was “absolutely world-class” at times. He is yet to really prove that as a coach but there’s no reason he cannot do it in Glasgow.
Not many of Celtic’s candidates will know the club inside and out, nor will they know what is required to beat Rangers with such frequency. At the moment, they are lacking identity.
Larsson could help bring that back, though. He has to at least be considered for the position. Having worked under the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Frank Rijkaard, the Swede must have picked up a number of tactical and man-management ideas.
That may well prove invaluable if he is discussed by the Celtic hierarchy.