Celtic now haven’t had a permanent manager at the helm since the end of February.
It has been a long and slippery slope for the Bhoys but finally there now appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel for the Parkhead faithful.
Reports from English newspapers suggested this week that a deal to bring Eddie Howe to Paradise was finally being concluded. With Crystal Palace also preferring other options over the 43-year-old, it bodes well for the Celtic hierarchy.
That said, they are not completely in the clear yet. That’s because, according to Stephen Craigan on the Go Radio Football show, they could still target another manager.
He talked up the chances of Scotland boss Steve Clarke being handed the reins, saying: “I just wonder, are they looking for a safe pair of hands and someone to come in steady the ship. And the reason why they can’t announce this guy [Clarke] is because he’s got the Euros in the summer.”
Craigan continued: “The longer it goes, the more I think Steve Clark could get the job. He knows the players, he knows the league he’s worked with some of the Celtic players at Scotland, you know, he’s shown he can manage a team and structure a team and get them organised.”
In simple terms, Celtic need to completely forget about Clarke. He’s done an impressive job taking the national team to their first major tournament since the 1990s but, at the end of the day, he wouldn’t suit the Hoops.
The 57-year-old has been described as “remarkable” by Kris Commons but, apart from his defensive record, that doesn’t particularly ring true.
The Bhoys have had obvious issues in their backline this term, shipping 19 goals in just six Europa League games. Blatant defensive errors have been rife, with Jonjoe Kenny and Diego Laxalt the main culprits in recent weeks, particularly in the last Old Firm derby.
On that evidence, Clarke could lend a hand. At Kilmarnock, the coach conceded fewer goals in 2017/18 than Rangers as he guided them to a fifth-place finish. During the next season, his Killie team finished third, also ending the campaign with the third-best defensive record in the division.
That said, Celtic need an attack-minded manager, someone who’s willing to dominate and bully the opposition.
The Hoops have enjoyed over 61% possession on average this term and are used to scoring goals by the bucket load. It’s not certain whether Clarke be able to manage that kind of blueprint at Parkhead, though.
With that in mind, he’d be even less suited than someone like Roy Keane. Although he has not been in management for the best part of ten years, the Irishman showed with his Sunderland side which earned promotion from the Championship in 2006/07 that they can dominate and score goals. During that campaign, Keane’s men netted the third-highest tally of goals (76) in the division.
Dermot Desmond would likely only be inflicting further pain on Celtic by moving for Clarke. He needs to look elsewhere or else just stick with Howe.