The permanent appointment of caretaker manager Neil Lennon to the Celtic Park hotseat speaks volumes about the Glasgow giants’ current situation off-the-field.
A number of high-profile names were linked to the post in the wake Tony Mowbray’sill-starred managerial tenure, most notably the now-Fulham boss in the EPL, Mark Hughes.
But all were frankly beyond Celtic’s means. And whilst the decision to promote a former club playing legend to the role has its commendations, Mowbray’s initial appointment was heralded in the same manner, and Northern Irishman Lennon has none of the considerable managerial experience with which Mowbray came to the job.
And some Celtic fans have likened Lennon’s appointment to the disastrous experiment with John Barnes in 2000, which ended with the (in)famous headline “Super Caley go ballistic, Celtic are atrocious” after unfashionable Inverness Caledonian Thistle humbled the Celts 3-1 in a Scottish Cup-tie at Celtic Park.
At the time of writing, the ghost of Caley past has been exorcised by Celtic’s 6-0 triumph over the same opposition in a League Cup tie. But Celtic’s brief sojourn into Europe was another nightmare, as they were outclassed by Sporting Braga in the UEFA Champions League and humiliated in Utrecht in the Europa League.
Lennon has, however, assemble a side which looks capable of wresting the Scottish League flag from arch city rivals Rangers’ grasp after two years on the west side of Glasgow.
South Korean World Cup defender Cha-Du-Ri, joined back-four colleague Charlie Mulgrew and Cardiff City’s promising youngster Joe Ledley in a re-shaped rearguard and midfield. While Lennon also brought in Mexican World Cup midfielder Efrain Juarez alongside James Forrest, who has progressed through the Celtic Boys’ club ranks and impressed at every stage along the way.
Extra fire power has also been recruited in the shape of Daryl Murphy, Gary Hooperand the long-coveted Ireland international Anthony Stokes to augment players such as the infuriatingly inconsistent yet prolific Greek World Cup frontman Georgios Samaras.
If Lennon can get this side to gel, an exciting season awaits. And you can see it all here with us on Live Sports Network.
A Brief History
Celtic was formed in 1887 by a local religious man Brother Walfrid who following the example of Hibernian FC set up the football club as a means to raise money to alleviate poverty in Glasgow’s east end parishes. Celtic Park or Parkhead has been their home since 1892. Numerous domestic championships and Scottish FA and League cups have spent time in the trophy cabinet as Celtic have largely taken it in turns with Rangers at the summit of Scottish club football. But none has been as welcomed as the European Cup in 1967 when Celtic became the first British club to lift the trophy, the year before Manchester United won it. Celtic famously overcame the famed Internazionale ‘catenaccio’defence with a breathtaking display of attacking football which breathed new life into an increasingly sterile competition. An additional source of pride was that the victory saw them become the only team to lift the trophy with the team comprised totally of home grown talent in that all the players were born within a 30 mile radius of Glasgow.
Unfortunately they have never been able to recreate the success of 1967 although they have reached the latter stages of several European competitions, including a second European Cup Final in 1970, when they lost after extra-time in Milan to Feyenoord, which heralded Dutch football’s domination of he Trophy for the next half-decade.
From 1966 to 1974, Celtic won a then record nine-in-a-row Scottish League titles under the management of the single greatest figure in the club’s history, John ‘Jock’ Stein. But after completing a memorable league and cup double in their centenary year of 1988, they had to watch Rangers record their own nine-in-a-row in the 80s and 90s before winning the 1998 title.
Domestic domination returned with the appointment of Northern Irishman Martin O’Neill, allied to the legendary goalscoring feats of the Swede Henrik Larsson. This success continued with the appointment of Gordon Strachan but the loss of their crown to Glasgow rivals Rangers led to Strachan’s departure and the new era under former Parkhead legend Tony Mowbray was ill-starred and short-lived, despite his pedigree and cv both being impressive. He led WBA to the Premier League and was linked with several other top jobs before deciding to return to the Bhoys, where he had been a popular player in the 1990s.
Neil Lennon took over as caretaker boss in the spring of 2010 and now has the Herculean task of managing Celtic back to the glory, glory days.
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Tags: Celtic live, live Scottish Premier League, Neil Lennon, Tony Mowbray, UEFA Champions League, Charlie Mulgrew, Efrain Juarez, Anthony Stokes, Georgios Samaras, Celtic Park, Martin O’Neill, Henrik Larsson, Gordon Strachan, live Celtic, Scottish Premier League