Celtic have announced Damien Duff’s replacement on Neil Lennon’s coaching staff and it is former manager, Gordon Strachan’s son, Gavin.
Duff has left to join the Republic of Ireland coaching set-up having been at Parkhead since early 2019 and former Celtic star Frank McAvennie, speaking to Football Insider, believes that Lennon will be happy to get his own man in.
So what has McAvennie said?
Strachan arrives from Peterborough United and McAvennie feels that it is a good move for Lennon:
“John Kennedy has played a big part, he has been there since his injury and he knows the fabrics of the club but Lenny needed to get his own guy in now Duff is away.
“John is a great coach but he is not Lenny’s man. Lenny has no one to talk to the way
he would talk to his own guy.
“Sometimes you need to release something to somebody you brought in. Coming from Ireland with ginger hair, he might have to release some tension and John might not be able to take it because he does not know Lenny as well.
“You need somebody in that dressing room that can talk to the players and relay to the manager what kind of attitude is in the dressing room.
“I am not talking about shopping people in, but gauge the atmosphere. John is a great coach but that is not in his makeup. Jimmy Nicholl did it all the time at Rangers. He was bouncing off people. And you can only imagine what went on in that dressing room!”
So is McAvennie correct?
The biggest issue is that McAvennie doesn’t really know what he is talking about, Kennedy may have been injured early on in his Celtic career but he still shared a dressing room with Lennon, they would have known each other from their respective playing days at the club.
Additionally, when Lennon was in charge in his first spell as manager, Kennedy was a first-team scout then worked his way up from the Under-19s to the development (reserve) squad, the pair would have been in almost daily dialogue with each other.
If the current Celtic boss had wanted to bring in his “own men” in when he first returned to the role, he would have done so but he would have been well aware of Kennedy’s qualities, hence the reason he was promoted to Assistant Manager by Lennon when he replaced Brendan Rodgers.
Strachan’s appointment is a simply a case of replacing the departure of Duff to fill a gap on his coaching staff, not because of some old school requirement to have a mate in the dressing room.