Mowbray axed - Former players top of the recruitment list

Friday, 26 March 2010



Lately there seems to be a perception that former players who have been considered “club legends” in the past can come in as a manager and transform a team with their reputation.

While this may not be the case for Tony Mowbray - he was a former player of Celtic who lost his wife to cancer during his first term at the club, therefore there was always going to be that emotional connection by returning to Parkhead.

His fate as Celtic manager was sealed on Wednesday night after the Hoops suffered a shocking 4-0 defeat to St. Mirren, their first defeat in the town of Paisley in 21 years; it was also the Saints first win in 12 games. Even at 4-0 the St. Mirren faithful looked for more as they chanted “we want five”.

Yesterdays Irish Daily Star’s back page led with the witty headline of “Hell in Mirren” probably the best headline since “Super Cally Go Ballistic, Celtic are atrocious” which followed after shocking defeat for the Hoops a couple of years ago.

There is a certain pressure that goes with being Celtic manager and that comes when you are not keeping in check with Old Firm rivals – Rangers. The SPL has been a two horse race for years but this term it is now Rangers’ to lose, the Gers are currently 10 points clear at the summit, albeit they have played two more games than Celtic.

Speaking after the game Mowbray said that "I just said to the team in the dressing room that I take responsibility,” And that is exactly what he did as the former West Brom manager was relieved of his duties yesterday afternoon.

Of his 45 matches Mowbray’s record looks like this - his team won 23 games, drew 9 and lost a staggering 13 times, with defeats to Dinamo Moscow, Arsenal, Hapoel Tel-Aviv, Rangers, Hamburg, Hearts, Dundee United, Hibs, Kilmarnock and, finally, St Mirren.

Neil Lennon now takes over as interim manager – another former player and current first team coach. The Northern Ireland man is the bookies favourite to take the job permanently; also on the list Ipswich manager Roy Keane, Paul Lambert and Henrik Larsson all ex-Celtic players.

Yet again former players make up the list of potential candidates, all of which have huge reputations in Scotland. Would they be willing to take control at Celtic and take a drop in wages? Or put their reputations on the line?

Celtic’s last hope of silverware this season is the Scottish Cup which will no doubt need to be won or else their whole season has been a failure, that may sound harsh but football is Scotland is hardly setting the world alight at the moment.

Last weekend’s home victory over St. Johnstone was watched by only 30,000 – which shows that even season ticket holders, all 20,000 of them are not bothered anymore.

If the club cannot attract the fans then money, which is already an issue for the Bhoys is going to become even tighter and will affect the calibre of manager they can attract to Parkhead.

It’s over to you – who should become the new Celtic manager? Should it be an ex-player or should it be someone with no connection with the club whatsoever?

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Touchline Views

This is a football blog by Ian Walsh, covering all aspects of the game - from the Premier League and La Liga to the slightly mental football stories we all love.

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