Neil Lennon’s nightmare start to the 2020/21 season went from bad to worse at the end of November, as his Celtic side crashed out of the League Cup, a title they have won for the last four years in a row, at the hands of Ross County. The Staggies ran out 2-0 winners at Celtic Park, with the Hoops on the receiving end of their fourth successive home defeat for the first time since the 1950s.
5 potential replacements for Neil Lennon at Celtic
It’s only a couple of months into the season but already Celtic have been shown the exit door in two competitions, with back-to-back 4-1 defeats to Sparta Prague confirming a premature elimination from the Europa League in just the group stages.
In the league, things aren’t looking much better for the Hoops, as they lag 11 points behind leaders Rangers – albeit with two games in hand over Steven Gerrard’s side. This was a season Celtic fans couldn’t wait to get started, at last the 10 in a row they’ve counted down to for so long was within touching distance. However, now it looks like it’s going to be a case of so close yet so far for the Hoops.
It’ll come as no surprise that Lennon is now under immense pressure from the Celtic faithful. Hundreds gathered outside Celtic Park as the Hoops suffered that 2-0 blow to Ross County, and, despite claims last week that he had the full backing of the board, it is now being reported that Lennon will hold crunch talks with the club’s hierarchy.
For the Northern Irish gaffer, the upcoming final against Heart of Midlothian could be a saving grace. The Hoops are the massive favourites in the Scottish Cup odds from Paddy Power, and the confirmation of yet another domestic treble for the club could take some of the heat off Lennon’s shoulders.
However, talk of who could replace the former Celtic midfielder is rife, and it is Gordon Strachan who is the current favourite at 6/4. The Scottish midfielder, who played for Leeds and Manchester United, is no stranger to Celtic Park, as he guided the Hoops to three league titles in four years when he replaced Northern Irishman Martin O’Neill back in 2005.
However, some Celtic fans out there might prefer to see second favourite Eddie Howe take the hot seat. The former Bournemouth boss worked wonders on the south coast of England, and until the defeat to Ross County, he was the bookies favourite.
Roy Keane is another man who is no stranger to the expectations set by those involved with Celtic. The Irishman, who has managed Sunderland and Ipswich Town, won the domestic double with the Hoops back in 2006, and his determined take-no-crap attitude could be just what is needed in the Celtic Park dressing room right now.
The familiar faces don’t end there either, as former Celtic legend Henrik Larsson is the joint-third favourite with Keane at 6/1. The Swedish international scored 175 times in 221 league appearances for the Hoops, helping them win eight trophies in seven years before moving to Barcelona. Larsson is currently Ronald Koeman’s assistant at Barça, but should Celtic come calling, he might fancy trying his hand at management again.
Former Hull City, Watford and Everton boss Marco Silva has also had his name mentioned by the bookies. The 43-year-old has been out of a job since being sacked by the Toffees in 2019, but given his wealth of Premier League experience, you’d think he would be a welcome addition at Celtic Park.
If Lennon is to be shown the door by the Glasgow giants, one thing’s for sure, the club’s hierarchy need to find the right replacement if they are to stop the league title’s long-awaited return to Ibrox.