Next Celtic manager: The main candidates to replace Ange Postecoglou should Tottenham come calling
Postecoglou is the red-hot favourite to replace Antonio Conte at the English Premier League outfit, with Celtic braced for an official approach after Saturday evening’s Scottish Cup final against Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Should Celtic prevail at Hampden, they will secure a domestic treble, but with Spurs circling for the 57-year-old former Yokohama F Marinos and Australia head coach, there is some unease among the club’s fanbase.
Postecoglou has insisted throughout the build-up to this match that he is focused solely on the match against ICT but he has also not poured cold water on the stories linking him to Tottenham. As a result, thoughts are already turning to who could replace him at Celtic Park next season.
Moyes is the frontrunner
The early favourite is current West Ham manager David Moyes, a 60-year-old Glaswegian who started his playing career at Celtic. He is currently readying his Hammers for the Europa Conference League final against Fiorentina on Wednesday, yet there are stories emanating that he may depart the London Stadium at the end of the season come what may. Despite a good run in Europe, West Ham flirted with relegation throughout the 2022/23 campaign and there are some members of the club’s hierarchy who want a change. Moyes, formerly of Man Utd and Everton, has made no secret in the past of his desire to return to Scotland during his management career and he is understandably high on the bookmakers’ list.
Former players and managers
Former Celtic captain Scott Brown has just completed his first season in club management at Fleetwood Town and while his odds have shortened in the past 24 hours, many feel it is too early in his coaching career to be handed the reins at Celtic Park. Two former incumbents of the post, Brendan Rodgers and Neil Lennon, have also been touted. Both are out of work and while Lennon returning for a third spell in charge seems fanciful, Rodgers’ stock is still high despite being sacked by Leicester City towards the end of this season and given his overwhelming success at Celtic before, he may appeal to the club’s board.
Given the high turnover of managers in the English Premier League this season, there are plenty of other bosses available who have good experience. Graham Potter is regarded as one of England’s most progressive coaches and while it did not work out at Chelsea, his work at Brighton counts for a lot. Jesse Marsch, who was linked with Celtic two years ago while in charge of Red Bull Salzburg, is out of work after losing his role at Leeds United. The veteran Spanish coach Rafael Benitez and former Croatia manager Slaven Bilic have also been listed but they seem less likely than Potter or Marsch.
Scotland head coach Steve Clarke – also previously linked with Celtic – could come into the equation despite recently signing a new contract with the national team. Then there are more leftfield foreign options, such as Lucien Favre and Kjetil Knudsen, or if Celtic wished to keep it in-house, then Postecoglou’s assistant John Kennedy – recently linked with Hearts – would be a live contender given he knows the club inside out and would offer continuity for the players.
Of course, right now there is no vacancy to fill, but with developments with Tottenham Hotspur expected imminently, Celtic may need to hit the accelerator as they prepare to defend their Premiership crown and take on the Champions League group stages. Just as Postecoglou – also linked with Marseille this week – is an attractive proposition, so too are Celtic for many other coaches.