As the curtain falls down on Celtic’s season, there will be a mass inquest to work out what went wrong.
Neil Lennon has lost his job and it’s even driven Peter Lawwell to retire from his role as chief executive. For the Hoops, this has not been an ordinary season and truth be told, it did not follow the script.
Celtic have been undisputed champions for a decade, they have dominated Scottish football and have made their opposition look feeble. Though, on this occasion, it was the Bhoys themselves being made to look like weaklings.
Rangers have taken home the SPFL crown and their Glaswegian rivals are now being left to lick their wounds.
They cannot rest on their laurels, however, especially with a new manager to hire. Whether it’s Eddie Howe, Roberto Martinez or Steve Clarke, a whole host of names have been touted with taking on the job.
One such manager has even been Martin O’Neill. He was sounded out as Lennon’s potential replacement back in December but rejected their advances.
However, in a fresh twist, Football Insider revealed that Cetic are now not trying to hire him but are instead using him as a voice of opinion on who the new manager should be.
It’s not the first time this sort of approach has been used in football. You may remember a certain Sir Alex Ferguson playing a pivotal role in his successor when he left Manchester United.
Given the ineptitude of Lawwell in recent years, particularly from a recruitment point of view, bringing in another voice is undoubtedly good news. After all, the CEO won’t even be at the football club next season.
The ideal situation, though, would be bringing O’Neill back into the fray full-time. The Irishman is one of the best manager’s Celtic have had as the 69-year-old guided the club to seven major honours and a UEFA Cup final at the start of the millennium. It feels like a long time since the Hoops can say they took their European football seriously.
O’Neill entered the club at a critical point. When he first took charge in 2000, Rangers had just won the treble and were the dominant side in Scottish football. Though, he revived Celtic’s fortunes and engineered a league title win in his first campaign at Parkhead.
How Celtic could do with a sprinkling of his stardust again as they try to rise from the ashes of an abysmal season.
Even if he doesn’t become their new manager, merely having him as a voice should certainly help to find Celtic the right man. O’Neill is a respected voice in football and knows exactly what the club needs. This is good news whatever way you look at it.