Celtic next manager: 2 surprise names linked, ex-Manchester United coach, John Kennedy latest, club priority

Celtic have prioritised finding the best candidate to replace Ange Postecoglou ahead of a swift appointment following the Australian's departure to Tottenham Hotspur.

The deal to take the 57-year-old to the Premier League club was concluded on Tuesday, within 72 hours of the club having won the treble with the 2-0 win over Inverness CT at Hampden Park. He emerged as Spurs’ No.1 candidate after a two-and-a-half month search which saw interest in the likes of former Bayern Munich boss Julian Nagelsmann and Arnie Slot, the Dutchman who led Feyenoord to the Eredivisie title.

Postecoglou is understood to want to take John Kennedy with him, as well as two other members of Celtic's backroom staff. It is a move the Scottish champions will look to block with Kennedy viewed as a key member of the coaching department and a possible future manager at the club having served under Neil Lennon and Brendan Rodgers prior to Postecoglou’s arrival.

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Rodgers emerged as the early favourite before distancing himself from the position having left Leicester City in April. Enzo Maresca is a strong candidate. The Italian is a key part of Pep Guardiola’s management team at Manchester City and is well known to the Celtic board having been touted for the job prior to the appointment of Postecoglou. Kjetil Knutsen, the Bodo/Glimt, featured high up on the bookmakers’ shortlist and has also been linked with Ajax spoke on the speculation, noting it is “nice to be mentioned".

"I am a coach in Glimt, incredibly proud of it and working in that team and with that group of players,” he said. "That's my focus, and it's going to be hard to respond to speculation, because that's really what it is."

Two surprise names

In the last 24 hours two surprise names have been linked with the vacant post at Celtic Park. The Daily Record has reported Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna is being considered by the board after an impressive 18 months or so at Ipswich Town. He took over the Tractor Boys when they were mid-table in League One and has since won promotion to the Championship, finishing second with 98 points this season in the third tier.

Hailed as a “meticulous planner”, the 37-year-old was a youth coach at Spurs before moving to Manchester United where he progressed to become a first-team coach under Ole Gunnar Solskjær then Ralf Rangnick.

Kieran McKenna is reportedly being considered for the Celtic job. (Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)Kieran McKenna is reportedly being considered for the Celtic job. (Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)
Kieran McKenna is reportedly being considered for the Celtic job. (Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)

McKenna's link is not nearly as left-field as that of Des Buckingham, the 38-year-old former youth goalkeeper who is currently managing Mumbai City. The Indian side, who have former Aberdeen and Rangers forward Greg Stewart on their books, are part of the City Football Group which has close ties to the Celtic hierarchy.

Buckingham has a varied coaching career, starting when he was a teenager with Oxford United before moving to New Zealand to coach at club and international level, guiding the country's Under-20s to success. That was following a stint at Stoke City. He moved to work under former Hearts star Patrick Kisnorbo at Melbourne City, another of the City Group's clubs, before becoming Mumbai City's head coach in 2021. He’d go on to claim the Indian Super League Winners' Shield.



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