As the uncertainty hangs in the air around Celtic boss, Neil Lennon, and whether he will remain as manager after the season concludes, the bookies have released their favourites to take over the Northern Irishman’s role should be either resign or be let go.
The names being thrown up are familiar but are they enough to whet the Parkhead supports appetite?
The four main contenders for the Paradise hot seat are Martin O’Neill at 7/4, Eddie Howe at 5/2, Hibernian manager Jack Ross at 4/1 and Manchester United legend and former Celtic player Roy Keane at 17/2.
Martin O’Neill would no doubt be the supporters choice as the success he brought to the club back in the early 2000 was the most successful period since the Jock Stein era. The first treble since 1968, a European Final and an exciting brand of football, this is a season book seller of a name.
Not too far behind O’Neill in terms of the popularity stakes is Eddie Howe. A name that has been bandied about for months now it seems, Howe has enjoyed three spells as a manager down south, twice with Bournemouth and once with Burnley, it was Howe’s second spell at Bournemouth that was his most successful. Taking the club to the English Premier League in 2015, Howe oversaw 3 successful seasons in England’s top flight with season with a 9th position finish in 2016/17 the highlight of his term. Howe left the club with mutual consent after they were relegated to the Championship last season.
Jack Ross, currently of Hibs, is another name linked to the position. Ross started his career at Alloa where he took them to second place in Scottish League One. So successful was his one and only stint at the club he was offered the hot seat at St Mirren where he guided the Buddies from the Scottish Championship back into the Premier League in his first season. He was offered the job at Sunderland after his one season in Paisley. His remit at the Black Cats was secure promotion from League One to the Championship and he almost achieved that in his first season but lost the final of the play offs to Charlton Athletic. He was dismissed the following season after a disappointing campaign and he left them in 6th place.
The most left field name so far is Manchester Utd legend Roy Keane. Keane no doubt had that presence and stature as a player and as a manager, he has enjoyed success with Sunderland, taking them from the Championship to the Premier League as winners and the following season he kept the Black Cats in the league finishing 16th. His hard hand with players led to a frosty relationship with his squad and it was reported that the Sunderland players celebrated when they heard Keane has resigned his position. Keane then took over as Ipswich Town manager in 2009 but was sacked in 2011 as he never met his remit in any of his time there to challenge for the promotional places to take them to the EPL.
No doubt there is also the fact that Lennon may remain in the position if the board see significant improvements for the remainder of the season but even Lennon himself must know that his job is not safe if results continue the way they are going at the moment.