Peter Lawwell can flip Celtic’s season on its head by firing Neil Lennon and hiring former FC Cluj head coach Dan Petrescu.
Lennon has reportedly been given a second vote of confidence following a crunch meeting at Parkhead on the back of Sunday’s dire draw with St. Johnstone, which saw supporters once again descend on the stadium furiously demanding for the Irishman to be fired.
Hopes of the Hoops claiming a record tenth Premiership title in a row are hanging by the balance after the weekend’s result saw rivals Rangers open a 13-point lead at the top of the table.
Celtic may have two games in hand over their Glasgow neighbours, yet a run of just two wins in 12 matches across all competitions has left Lennon scrambling to ask majority owner Dermot Desmond and Lawwell for more time to turn the Hoops campaign around.
Lennon is expected to be given the chance to save Celtic’s season, though a number of head coaches are being touted as potential replacements. Among the many is former Cluj boss Petrescu – who beat Celtic twice last season – after he offered his resignation at the Romanian side.
Cluj have since had to come out and deny Petrescu had quit in order to take charge at Celtic, who are now staring down the barrel of a campaign with no silverware on offer.
“I have no way of knowing if Celtic’s interest in Dan Petrescu is true,” Cluj Director Marius Bilasco said, via quotes by the Daily Record. “We asked him about it, but he explained he had decided to leave anyway.
“If you have a manager who wins you three titles in a row and who gets you into Europe, why would we want him to leave? Petrescu has always attracted interest from many clubs. He had the support of the board and this was his decision.”
With Petrescu on the market after resigning at Cluj, he may prove to be the perfect appointment for Lawwell to make if he and Desmond decide to fire Lennon.
Petrescu has previously buttered up the Hoops hierarchy and supporters by suggesting the Lennoxtown giants are not only capable of winning the Europa League, but that they are a side deserving of being in the Champions League, despite eliminating the Scottish powerhouse from the premier UEFA competition last season.
“They can win the competition. I would say the same about Lazio, if they qualify,” the Chelsea icon said, via quotes by the Daily Record. “They are both good enough to go all the way. They are Champions League teams in my opinion.”
Petrescu has previously fielded interest from Premier League sides in Crystal Palace and Watford, with the Eagles approaching him in 2017 after they fired Frank de Boer, while the Hornets came calling a year ago to help them stave off the threat of relegation.
Neither side were appealing at the time, though the chance to save Celtic may be more up his street given the 52-year-old’s previous remarks on the green and white outfit.
Lawwell may find Petrescu is more up his street, too, as the former Cluj boss was able to mastermind results against Celtic on the biggest stage when everything was against him.
When Celtic lost to Cluj in August 2019 to fall out of the Champions League, the Romanian side were lauded for exploiting the chaos in the Hoops line-up that offered acres of space when pressed hard and fast.
That same mentality, and the ability to walk into a raucous stadium without hiding in their shadows, is an aspect Celtic are crying out for right now, and any hopes of saving ten-in-a-row would hinge on whoever replaces Lennon righting all of his wrongs.