“We are building towards something special,” John Kennedy

John Kennedy is quite simply in with the bricks at Celtic, having represented the club as a player, a scout, a coach, an interim manager and of course his current gig as an assistant boss, under both Neil Lennon and now current manager Ange Postecoglou.

So, it’s fair to say, for someone who is still quite remarkably under the age of 40, the former Centre Half has seen it all at Celtic and is well placed to comment, contrast and to compare.

Martin Stranzl (L) of Spartak Moscow competes for the ball with Mark Brown (C) and John Kennedy of FC Celtic Glasgow during the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round soccer match between Spartak Moscow and FC Celtic Glasgow at Luzhniki Stadium on August 15, 2007 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Epsilon/Getty Images)

The lowest of those times – out with his promising playing career which was wickedly cut short by injury – would no doubt be the final season under Lennon, and until now, Brendan Rodgers Invincible season, which kick started the incredible achievement of the Quadruple Treble, perhaps the moments Kennedy would be most proud to have played his part in.

Yet there may just be a feeling that the Ange Postecoglou revolution is going to supersede all of that, with Kennedy, as reported in The Scotsman admitting a ‘feel’ for things behind the scenes has given him a sense of something special emerging with the current crop of players, under the influence of a manager with as much of a grasp on the psychology of the dressing room as he does on footballing tuition.

 Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou looks on during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic FC and Kilmarnock FC at on January 07, 2023. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“You can feel it when you are part of these things,” Kennedy said. “You get a sense every day the team are on it and really hungry. They have a real intent and focus.

“I’ve seen that through all of those eras. I remember it in Brendan’s team. They had the bit between their teeth and a huge hunger to succeed and to continually succeed. We’ve got a group now who have had a small taste of success [winning the league and League Cup last season], in terms of what the club has achieved over the years. They’ve got a taste for it and they are hungry for more.

“When you have that in a group it’s very strong. The manager uses it psychologically all the time. He’s very good on that side of things and motivating players. We certainly feel at the moment we are building towards something special. But we can’t take our eyes off the ball.”

Celtic assistant manager John Kennedy is seen during the Celtic Champions Training Day at Celtic Park on July 18, 2022. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Its key to note John Kennedy firmly believes Celtic are still in the rebuilding process under Ange Postecoglou. There is no inference made from the first team coach that Celtic or Ange Postecoglou have completed their job, despite arguably having already bult the strongest squad of players Celtic have had in recent memory.

And after a first season, where Celtic rebuilt in a barely conceivable timeframe, a team that would win back the League Cup and the Scottish Premiership title, the defence of the former is on the line this Sunday afternoon.

 Celtic players John Kennedy, Stephen McManus and Aiden McGeady pay tribute to Celtic and Scotland international football legend Tommy Burns, who died on May 15, 2008 aged 51, after losing his battle with cancer. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Kennedy and Celtic are due at Hampden to face a former foe of the Celtic assistant manager. One who has found himself as the main man in the Ibrox dug-out after previously biting off more than he could chew as an assistant, following an infamous spat between himself and Michael Beale in 2019.

Not that Kennedy is willing to make a big thing of it. Probably as he wasn’t the instigator, with Beale showed early warning signs of his now blossoming naivety. Indeed, Kennedy came out of that one with his dignity intact, unlike the current boss of theRangers.

Ronny Deila Celtic manager with coach John Kennedy (right) during the Pre Season Friendly between Celtic and De Bosch at St Mirren Park on July 01, 2015. (Photo by Jeff Holmes/Getty Images)

“I’ve come across Michael a couple of times at various coaching things, we’ve crossed paths many times over the years.”

“I’ve not spoken to him since he came back to Scotland. As I said, we’ve crossed paths doing badges and stuff but we never really had any relationship outside that. I was only speaking to the referee back then, it wasn’t much to be honest.”

Whilst Kennedy’s run-in in with ‘haud me back’ Beale was much ado about nothing, the Ange Postecoglou rebuild is very much the real deal. And it is encouraging to hear Ange Postecoglou is just getting started in here despite the success to date.

And that’s got to be a worrying revelation for a wet behind the ears rookie who will take his place in the Hampden technical areas on Sunday alongside a far more experienced and successful foe – and Ange Postecoglou too.

Niall J

 Celtic assistant manager John Kennedy talks to David Turnbull during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and St. Mirren at Celtic Park on January 30, 2021. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
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About Author

As a Bellshill Bhoy I was taken to my first Celtic game in the summer of 1987. It was Billy McNeill’s return to Celtic Park as manager and Celtic lost 5-1 to Arsenal . I thought I was a jinx, I think my Grandfather might have thought the same. It was the finest gift anyone ever gave me when he walked me through Parkhead's gates.

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