“He fits the criteria,” Celtic Player describes Eddie Howe as “a fantastic manager”

Stephen Welsh knows that his breakthrough season at Celtic only happened due to the crisis situation that initially brought him into the side last October and has remained throughout the rest of the season, as Celtic let slip of all three domestic trophies, each of which had been won over the previous 4 years and the Premiership Trophy another 5 years on top.

Nothing lasts for ever and Celtic’s remarkable winning run in the cup competitions had to come to an end at some point, given no side in Scottish football history has ever won so many back-to-back knock-out matches in the Cups ever before. Celtic fans can accept that. What happened in the league. The club knew, the players knew and the fans certainly understood what that season meant and we fell way short.

Photo: Jeff Holmes

Did you watch the game at the weekend? First half, Celtic played reasonably well, should have been ahead, Willie Collum’s decision to retake a free kick that Odsonne Edouard scored because the Hibs wall moved forward was a disgrace. After they made their position clear on Collum’s ‘background’ you just know he’d have been too scared to even consider pulling that stunt against them.

Anyway, into the second half and yet again the Celtic performance dipped notably after the break. Is it fitness? Are they just mentally throwing in the towel because chances haven’t been taken. John Kennedy’s record since taking over from Neil Lennon is possibly worse than anything Lennon delivered in his time at Celtic outside that horrible spell last autumn.

So many players are leaving and frankly few if any of them will be missed.

Photo: Stephen Dobson

For Stephen Welsh though he managed to get himself into the Celtic first team, play plenty of games, and even earned a new long-term contract, something that the new manager would have had a say on possibly. If you’re struggling to find any silver linings then the emergence of Welsh is maybe one. The jury is still out though and it will be next season before we find out if he’s going to be the real deal as a Celtic defender, playing for Eddie Howe’s new look side.

“It has been a breakthrough season for me — but it’s not just been about me. I’d rather have not played in the team this season and we had kept on winning,” Welsh told the media at Easter Road on Saturday afternoon as reported by Scottish Sun. “So it has been good to break through, but next year for me is all about coming back and being part of a winning team. That is the most important thing when you are at Celtic.

“We’re all pretty calm about what happens next. The club will deal with it the way they should. Obviously Eddie Howe was a fantastic manager when he was at Bournemouth over the last few years and he fits the criteria.

“He plays good football from what I saw, so it is exciting more than anything. We’re all positive about what the future holds, regardless of whether it’s a new manager and coaches or whatever.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“We’ll be ready to work hard for them and do well. But I think it’s natural to think they will be watching games like this one. And if you have an idea a new face is coming in, you want to go out and prove how good you are, prove you should be in the team next season. That’s really all that you can do as a player.”

“We’ve seen it this season with the way (the)Rangers have turned it around on us. The gap the last few seasons has been massive. It’s the fine details that have let us down this season and the performances have not been good enough. But hopefully the performances and results will be better next season.

“It’s been a problem breaking teams down this season. It’s not like creating chances, it’s maybe the final ball or the finish hasn’t been as good. It’s something we’ll need to work on but we’ll regroup and go again. In end-of-season games sometimes people take their foot off the accelerator, but we tried our hardest out there to win the game. It was pretty much the story of the season — we can’t score goals.

“We know we have to go again next year. We need to rest over the summer and regroup. We need to come back fitter and stronger next season. We don’t know what will happen with the manager situation but the club will take care of that. It is important for the lads to come back in good nick. We’re into the Champions League qualifiers straight away, so the games will come thick and fast. It’s important to be ready.”

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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