Where do you start with Celtic this season?
They may have secured a triumphant quadruple treble last term but this season couldn’t have been much more of a disaster.
A lot is going wrong for Celtic this season on and off the pitchGetty Images
On the pitch, they’ve faltered in both the Champions League and Europa League and find their bid to win a tenth straight Scottish Premiership title in tatters as they’re trail fierce rivals Rangers by 21 points.
And off it they’ve landed themselves in a war of words with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon after deciding to go on a warm weather training trip to Dubai as the UK begun the battle against the new coronavirus variant.
The trip ended up being a disaster as Christopher Jullien testing positive for COVID, causing a number of first-team players as well as manager Neil Lennon to miss their first two matches back in Scotland – both of which finished in draws.
Changes are needed at Parkhead with former Hoops striker John Hartson saying relieving former teammate Lennon of his duties would be the best course of action.
Lennon took charge of Celtic for the second time in February 2019Getty Images
Hartson said: “I am a pundit but I care like the fans care, I am a Celtic supporter and ex-player and it is just very disappointing to see how this season has so fizzled out. I think a change is needed.
“I send Neil best wishes and good luck when he needs it but to lose the league in such a big, big season in the way they have, has been so disappointing.
“Not just me, look at Chris Sutton, Stan Petrov, Alan Thompson and Henrik Larsson (former teammates), we all love Neil and want him to succeed and we were all delighted when he brought home the quadruple treble but I do genuinely think, with the situation in the league, a change is needed from the bottom to the top, I really do.
“The whole thing needs to be changed and it needs to happen pretty soon.
Hartson insists he and other teammates appreciate what Lennon has done but believes it’s time for changeGetty Images – Getty
“Maybe the players need a different voice. Neil might want a new challenge, a fresh start. Sometimes it doesn’t work, Neil is intelligent enough, he has to see this.
“It has taken me this long to say I would like to see a change, new staff, a freshness, something different. Neil has done amazing. His trophy haul has been fantastic both as a player and a manager.
“I just think the club need to say that they are going to change the manager, whether he goes at the end of the season or now, it is tough call for me to say it but I think it needs to be done. The time has come.”
A number of interesting names have been tipped for the Celtic job if Hartson’s wish is indeed granted.
Eddie Howe, who left Bournemouth by mutual consent at the end of last season, is favourite to become the next Celtic bossGetty Images – Getty
The overwhelming favourite to be the next permanent Hoops boss is Eddie Howe at 1/5, according to Sky Bet. He’s been out of work since leaving Bournemouth last summer.
Just behind Howe is Jack Ross (10/1) – the former Sunderland boss is currently at Hibernian, while ex-Celtic boss Martin O’Neill is 12/1. His last managerial gig came in 2019 at Nottingham Forest but the Northern Irishman lasted just five months.
Slaven Bilic, who was sacked by West Brom in December, is 16/1 to take over alongside Gordon Strachan, who managed the Glasgow side after O’Neill.
Manchester United legend and former Celtic boss Roy Keane is 18/1, while Dan Petrescu, Damien Duff and even club legend Henrik Larsson are outsiders. Below you can see Paddy Power’s odds on the next permanent Celtic manager.
Next permanent Celtic manager
*Odds according to Sky Bet
Eddie Howe (1/5)
Jack Ross (10/1)
Martin O’Neill (12/1)
John Kennedy (14/1)
Gordon Strachan (16/1)
Slaven Bilic (16/1)
Roy Keane (18/1)
Dan Petrescu (18/1)
Damien Duff (22/1)
Veljko Paunovic (22/1)
Henrik Larsson (22/1)
talkSPORT’s Simon Jordan, however, is not convinced that Celtic is the right job for Howe.
Jordan said in November: “If you’re Eddie Howe, do you really want this?
“We’re on the cusp of Rangers really being in the ascendancy again, they’re improved exponentially and it might be a tall order to catch them this season.
“So why would Eddie Howe want to be the manager in charge when that possible tenth title in a row by Celtic is lost
“It’s a massive job and coming from Bournemouth to Celtic… the expectations are vastly different.
“I wouldn’t look at Eddie Howe as a really good candidate for Celtic to stop the current rot that’s there.”
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