100 days since Neil Lennon left Celtic.

100 days since Neil Lennon left Celtic. Image

I've been in limbo for 100 days. It sounds like the title of a big-budget film that will require a lot of patience to finish. Not a bad working title for Celtic's manager search, which has now lasted 100 days since Neil Lennon's departure from Parkhead on February 24.

The three-and-a-half months since Lennon's departure have been packed with drama, and the club's board of directors has come under increasing fire. With legendary skipper Scott Brown departing for Aberdeen and Eddie Howe performing a u-turn that put the skids right under the Parkhead decision-makers, Ange Postecoglou was relegated to second place. While some, such as Charlie Mulgrew, believe that no more time should be wasted in the search for Lennon's replacement, Jim Duffy, a fellow ex-Hoops defender, believes that patience is required.

His mantra is that it is better to take 100 days to find the right person than it is to appoint the wrong person in one day. Duffy, a manager with experience on both sides of the border, is well aware that the clock is ticking on one of the club's most important appointments in recent memory. However, the RIGHT decision is more important than a hasty choice. If that's Ange Postecoglou, and UEFA approval takes another week or so, Duffy says that's exactly what will have to happen.

And, after the success Arsene Wenger brought to the UK from Japan, he insists that no one should rule out the appointment of a manager from the J-League. Duffy, who left Dumbarton last week after three years in charge and joined the Ayr United backroom staff yesterday, told Record Sport: “It's better to take 100 odd days to get the right man than it is to appoint the wrong guy in one day.”

“A lot of teams rush in and realize it's not what they expected after a short period of time.

“Of course, Celtic supporters are eager for the new man to arrive because there is so much work to be done.

“The Euros add to that because with Callum McGregor, Ryan Christie, James Forrest, David Turnbull, and the rest of the squad away, even if a new manager came in this week, he'd have half of his team missing.

“Because of this, getting to know players and getting them to work in the system he wants them to work in can take a long time.

“Whoever takes over will be faced with a massive task. Whether you're a player or a manager, you're judged very quickly these days.

“I don't think the wait for a manager has harmed Celtic.

“Every now and then it just clicks.” There is no magic formula for Callum Davidson of St Johnstone.

“Alternatively, as Steven Gerrard at Rangers demonstrated, it can take time to build something.

“Managers in the English Premier League are most likely beyond Celtic's financial capabilities. Ange Postecoglou was found after they looked through the available candidates.

“Look at what he's accomplished with Australia's national team and now in Japan.

“That's something you can't dismiss. Arsene Wenger, for example, came to Arsenal from Japan and did quite well!

“At the time, that seemed a little out of left field.

“He brought a philosophy with him that has stayed with Arsenal for many years.

“People want a big name or a well-known candidate, but the most important thing is that you hire the best candidate. It can take some time to do so.

“You have to give Postecoglou a chance if the Celtic board thinks he's Postecoglou.”
Mulgrew, on the other hand, is a little more irritable. With Champions League qualifiers on the horizon, the 35-year-old insists the new man must be in place quickly so he can get his ideas across to the Hoops squad.

He told Sky Sports, "Celtic need to finish it as soon as possible." “Fans want to know, and the club needs to know as well.

“It's important for the players to know who's in charge.

“They need to figure out their pre-season schedule, and they need to get on the practice field with a new manager and learn how he works.

“They understand the importance of getting off to a strong start in the Euro qualifiers and allowing the manager to communicate his ideas.”

Following Howe's snub, Postecoglou is still the favorite.

The Hoops have reached an agreement with his current club, Yokohama F Marinos, and have applied to UEFA for an exemption for the 55-year-old, who lacks the required Pro-Licence badge.

It could take weeks to complete this task.

“Those are the rules, and you must abide by them,” Duffy said.

“Getting that license takes two years, a lot of work, a lot of travel, and a lot of money.

“You can't just dismiss that because Celtic are in desperate need of a manager,” he says.

“It's been over 20 years since I got mine,” says the author. It's much harder now. You'll need a language, for instance.

“It is a very high standard, and it is there for a reason. And to keep it up to date, you have to take courses every few years.

“It's not impossible. In the short term, he could be appointed with a different title and a couple of coaches, giving him time to prepare.

“What matters most is that the best person for the job is chosen.”