John Kennedy cannot be discounted for the Celtic manager’s job on a permanent basis and according to John Hartson there is a clear pathway for the current Interim boss if he is to get the nod from the Celtic board. Indeed as some supporters have speculated over the past few days – since the best performance of the season from Celtic in the 6-0 win over Livingston – that could end up happening in the showers at Hampden on 22 May after Kennedy has just won the Scottish Cup.
Or maybe it’s all an elaborate bluff to convince Eddie Howe that playing hard to get sometimes backfires and certainly John Kennedy is starting to grow into the job. He was impressive when he spoke to the Celtic Fan Media Conference just after he’d taken over from Neil Lennon. Some comments at the time likened this to a job interview with the support and there is no doubt that Kennedy impressed that afternoon.
But it’s the way he has slowly but surely improved Celtic since taking charge. The defence is more solid. The goalkeeper more confident. The system more enjoyable for the players and it’s easier on the eye for the support. Put it this way, as things stand Kennedy cannot be discounted for the job and he alone among the candidates – and Eddie if you are reading this, there are others – who can actually influence his chances by delivering wins for Celtic.
Hartson explains in his interview today on Go Radio: “The guys who have been liked like Eddie Howe and Steve Clarke and several others, you would probably go with them before John.
“But if Celtic are in a position where they can’t get the right one and John keeps winning and keeps playing really good football and progressing on the front foot like they have been playing, I suppose he comes in the running.
“I’m not too sure. All John has to do is keep winning, keep playing great football like he’s doing. He comes across excellent.
“The fans might say he’s not a big enough name but what I’d say to that is that John knows that club inside out.
“He’s been there with three different managers and he would have taken a lot from each of them -particularly Brendan Rodgers on the tactical side because he was magnificent. You look at the way he set his team up, the way that they played and what he’s doing now at Leicester.
“For me, I think John has to deliver the Scottish Cup.”
One last point, the Celtic players like and respect John Kennedy and are evidently a happier group since he has taken over. The Brendan Rodgers shadow over the Celtic dressing room was increasingly evident at time elapsed after his sudden departure for Leicester City and it did Neil Lennon no favours, as players inevitably compared one with the other. Kennedy represents a step back to the Rodgers methods but may not have the desired ‘box office’ appeal for the season ticket sales.
That suggests that logically Howe is still the front-runner, for now at least but neither time nor Celtic will wait for any man.