Celtic's Scott Bain on 'exciting' Eddie Howe, and seeing off Rangers to 'keep' Scottish Cup

The twists in Celtic’s season seem never ending.

Scott Bain confesses that impressing likely new Celtic manager Eddie Howe has inevitably been on the minds of the club's players.  (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
Scott Bain confesses that impressing likely new Celtic manager Eddie Howe has inevitably been on the minds of the club's players. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

If Eddie Howe is appointed manager this week then he will have little over a week to prepare for the first defining game of his tenure. The Scottish Cup fourth round draw that will see Celtic visit Ibrox in a fortnight has made sure of that.

Already the pursuit of Howe is impacting on the personnel he will inherit should he make the leap, according to Celtic keeper Scott Bain. The growing belief the 43-year-old is about to pitch up could hardly bypass the club’s players. Bain, a bystander as the club overcame Falkirk 3-0 in the third round of the competition on Saturday, concurred that the former Bournemouth manager was “an exciting name”. He also acknowledged the requirement to impress a new manager was on the minds of the Celtic squad - even as he stressed they have been “really enjoying working hard in training” under interim manager John Kennedy, and this has been reflected in their displays.

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“I think so,” he said of making a good impression on Howe, assuming the Englishman does front up. “That is always the case at Celtic anyway. You need to perform every week at this club regardless of the situation. But there is a little bit of added pressure. You want to put in good performances for whoever might come in if someone has been watching in the background. When you are at Celtic there is always pressure on the performances because there’s always someone biting at your heels trying to take your place. So it’s nothing new, but the situation does keep you on your toes. I don’t think we’ve been distracted [by the manager chat] though. There’s been a lot of talk and speculation for a while now so it’s been going on in the background. It seems to be ramping up these last couple of days but it’s nothing we can control. We can only control what happens on the pitch.”

With only a Scottish Cup salvage operation open to Celtic from a miserable campaign, there could hardly be more riding on their forthcoming trip to the south side of the city. “There’s a huge incentive,” said Bain. “We’ve had huge disappointment in the other two competitions. This one is ours and we want to keep it. We don’t want to give it up easily so it gives us added motivation for the last five games of the season. We don’t want to drop our standards.”

Bain’s standards seem to be going the right way in the event of Howe joining the club. The keeper’s growing assurance is reflected in the fact that the weekend brought his seventh clean sheet in the 12 games since he was given first -choice status again in January. Asked if Howe’s appointment could encourage players expected to move on in the summer to stay on, he understandably focused on his own feelings. “It’s an individual thing,” he said. “But you never know, whoever comes in might convince people who thought they wanted to play somewhere else to stay for another year or two. For me, I want to be here as long as possible and any time I get the chance to play I want to do my best for the club.”

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