We look at the bookies’ favourites to replace Ronny Deila as Celtic manager and rate the probability of them taking over the Parkhead hot-seat out of 10.
David Moyes (Odds - 6/4)
Seems the obvious choice for a club attempting to regain its European presence. The ex-Manchester United and Everton manager’s did not have many positives to take away from his time at Old Trafford, but the performances of an under-confident, tactically naïve Man Utd in Europe was one of them. While the death knell on his job rang with the 3-0 first leg defeat at Olympiakos, Moyes inspired a come back to set up a Quarter Final with Bayern Munich in which United did not simply roll over. Since his ill-fated stint in Salford, a spell at Real Sociedad was underwhelming to say the least, although the view that Moyes is some type of footballing genius still persists after his work at Preston and Everton. A move that would suit both parties with Moyes needing to resuscitate his career and Celtic needing a manager with European experience, it’s no surprise the Glaswegian is favourite in the bookies.
Steve Clarke (3/1)
Out of work since English Championship side Reading sacked him in early December, ex-West Brom manager Clarke was considered the favourite for the job last time it was available before Celtic plumped for Deila. A life-long Celtic fan, Clarke missed out on his dream move to the club as a player, securing one to Chelsea from his first team St Mirren.
The Saltcoats-born coach has impressive credentials as assistant manager under Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, as well as stints under Kenny Dalglish and Rafa Benitez. The obvious stumbling block, however, will be his knack of taking comfortable mid-table squads and dragging them into relegation fights. His West Brom side, having finished 8th under Clarke in his first season, ended up sitting 15th when Clarke was sacked in December 2013, although Reading’s first FA Cup semi-final appearance can’t be ignored. With more capable options available, Clarke’s chance for the top job at Parkhead will have to be put on hold.
READ MORE - Steve Clarke states interest in Celtic job
Malky Mackay (5/2)
Mackay’s spat while manager of Cardiff with chairman Vincent Tan followed by a disastrous period at Wigan which led to their relegation from the English Championship means that his position as a front runner for the Celtic job, at least with the bookies, seems totally bizarre. With the wealth of talent available who fancy the job, either those putting money on know something we don’t, or are just deluded.
Michael O’Neill (11/2)
A hugely successful tenure as Northern Ireland manager, helping the nation to their first ever European Championships and their first major championship since 1986, many Celtic fans believe that the new O’Neill would have a similar impact to the last one. With little to no top-level club management experience, with spells at Brechin City and Shamrock Rovers his only appointments, it would be a massive step up for the Northern Irishman.
Neil Lennon (6/1)
Celtic fans are remarkably reluctant to welcome back Lennon into Celtic Park despite his superb record during his time at the club. Three consecutive Premier Leagues and two Scottish Cups as a manager, alongside five Premier Leagues, four Scottish Cups, and two League Cups as a player proves his ability, with Celtic’s performances in Europe another highlight during his time as manager.
It would surely be a perfect reunion for both coach and club, with Lennon needing a confidence boosting appointment after the disaster that was his spell at cash-strapped Bolton and Celtic needing to be restored to the European elite. What will likely stop his appointment is the perception of it being a backwards step for the club.
Roy Keane (14/1)
A return to Celtic park for the inflammatory Irishman has been mooted since Deila announced his departure, however Keane’s commitment to the Irish national team will be the main stumbling block of any move. Currently assistant manager of his country preparing for Euro 2016 under the tutelage of Martin O’Neill, unless the pair go their separate ways after an inevitable group-stage exit (O’Neill has been linked with the Nottingham Forest job), it seems highly unlikely that Keane will be coming anywhere near Celtic park.
Nigel Pearson (16/1)
The mastermind behind Leicester City’s great escape last season before being sacked by the club in the summer, Pearson has seen his stock rise almost as quickly as his former employers after being credited for a lot of the groundwork of the current Leicester side. A proven winner in difficult leagues, guiding Leicester to both the League One and Championship titles in 2009 and 2013, Pearson’s volatile personality has proven problematic in the past with the Nottingham-born coach once calling a reporter an ‘ostrich’. Any other year and Pearson may well have been favourite for the job. However, question marks over his handling of the sex-tape scandal at Leicester in his final few months as manager which included his son, as well as more well-suited candidates for the role, it’s unlikely he’ll be in the Celtic hot-seat next season.
Brendan Rodgers (20/1)
Reports surrounding the ex-Liverpool and Swansea manager have indicated that he is the Celtic board’s first choice despite his sacking at Liverpool in October 2015. A manager with a track-record of attractive, attacking football, Rodgers’ style and man-management would suit the new challenges of the Old Firm facing this group of Celtic players next season. Another Mourinho protégé after four years at Chelsea under the Portuguese boss, Steven Gerrard once claimed that Rodgers’ one-on-one management was the best he’d ever seen. Another manager in need of career boost after a disappointing end to his time at Liverpool and a Celtic fan as a boy, it seems like a perfect match for club and coach.
Alan Stubbs (33/1)
The current Hibs manager and ex-Celtic and Everton player seems to be the perfect fit for Celtic. Young, determined, and with a successful period at Hibs, Celtic would be a logical step up. However, Stubbs hasn’t actually achieved anything with Hibs quite yet. While second place behind a dominant Hearts and ahead of a floundering Rangers in his first season is something to be proud of, the speed of Hibs’ demise after February this campaign was alarming to say the least. Two cup finals have masked the club’s struggles in the league and with the serious threat of Falkirk beating them to second place, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Stubbs is not really in the running for the Celtic job this time around. Certainly one for the future, especially if he can get the Hibees promoted and break their 114-year duck in the Scottish Cup.
Paul Lambert (33/1 to 1/1 in one day)
Captain of the defeated Celtic UEFA Cup final team in 2003, appearing over 200 times for the Hoops, the ex-Aston Villa manager has decided to leave his current employers Blackburn Rovers at the end of the season, causing the odds for him to be next Celtic manager to tumble in the space of an hour.
A Champions League winner while at Borussia Dortmund, Lambert’s experience at Villa, Blackburn and Norwich gives him an enviable level of experience as a manager. A fan favourite during his time at Celtic, winning the Premier League four times, the Scottish Cup three times, and the League Cup twice, he has the history and the experience to offer hope to the Celtic faithful. His recent record at Blackburn, however, will not instill confidence after the Lancashire club after no wins in April.