If and when Eddie Howe finally becomes the new manager of Celtic Football Club, this weekend could well be seen as a landmark one in the Hoops’ chase.
It has been a tired and drawn-out saga full of twists and turns, but the Bhoys could finally be closing in on their man. Celtic have been without a permanent manager since Neil Lennon departed in February and the top brass at Parkhead have struggled to find a replacement.
They have been in negotiations with Howe for two months, but they could now be closer than ever to concluding a deal after a huge development on Saturday afternoon.
The Green Brigade will have been watching Bournemouth’s Championship play-off clash with bated breath yesterday. After all, if the Cherries tasted defeat, it would bring the Hoops within touching distance of Howe and his desired coaching staff.
One of the delays in announcing the 43-year-old has been down to the backroom team he wants to bring with him to Paradise. He has been hoping to convince Bournemouth coaches Simon Weatherstone and Steven Purches to make the move north as well, but they’ve had to wait for the Cherries to finish their season.
Fortunately for Celtic, Bournemouth’s campaign is now done and dusted. The south coast side took a lead to Brentford in the semi-final second leg clash and scored first in west London but still managed to crash out.
The Bees produced a tremendous fightback, with Thomas Frank’s side prevailing 3-1 in London on Saturday.
One of the goalscorers happened to be a certain Ivan Toney, a striker who was so close to joining Celtic last summer. The 32-goal hitman had visited Paradise and a deal looked to be on the table. They ultimately had a bid rejected but the striker has now done the Hoops a massive favour.
With Bournemouth failing to reach the promised land of the Premier League, it may well be easier to lure some of their backroom staff to Lennoxtown. After all, promotion bonuses and salary increases are now no longer an option for the likes of Weatherstone and Purches.
Consequently, it should be plain sailing for Howe and his staff from here. A deal to name the Englishman as their next manager feels like it’s edging ever closer.