'Look back with grin, dodged a bullet' - Celtic must be thankful to have missed out on target, says Kris Commons

Former Celtic player Kris Commons believes Celtic will feel like they have “dodged a bullet” by not having Eddie Howe as their manager.

Eddie Howe has failed to spark an upturn in fortunes at Newcastle United.
Eddie Howe has failed to spark an upturn in fortunes at Newcastle United.

The Englishman was heavily courted by the Glasgow club in the first part of last year as a successor to Neil Lennon, only for talks to break down. Celtic ended up appointing Australian Ange Postecoglou, who has since won the Premier Sports Cup, qualified for the knock-out stages of the Europa Conference League and has the team sitting second in the cinch Premiership.

Howe took over from Steve Bruce at Newcastle in November and despite a change of ownership at the English Premier League outfit, the Magpies are fighting relegation and were dumped out of the FA Cup by Cambridge United last weekend.

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Commons reckons most Celtic fans will now be delighted that they have Postecoglou rather than Howe and said: "How ironic that he spent longer in negotiations with Celtic than it has taken for some fans to start asking serious questions of him at St James' Park.

Ange Postecoglou won the Premier Sports Cup with Celtic last month.

"Howe took over in early November and his appointment as the successor to Steve Bruce was met with almost unanimous approval by Newcastle fans.

"But any improvement since then has been pretty much non-existent.

"Newcastle have only won once in nine games in all competitions under their new boss - a 1-0 home victory over Burnley in the Premier League.

"The FA Cup defeat at home to League One Cambridge United at the weekend was a new low and a humiliation which has already sounded the alarm bells for some Newcastle fans.

"I'm sure there were plenty of Celtic supporters sniggering as they watched the highlights on Saturday night, and who can blame them?

"Howe was offered the Celtic job on a plate. The club bent over backwards to try and accommodate him and provide him with all he needed.

"But he knocked it back largely on the basis that the make-up of his backroom and scouting team wasn't quite what he wanted.

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"Or, in other words, he bottled it."

Continuing in his Daily Mail column, Commons wrote: "Contrast that with the man who eventually took the job.

"Ange Postecoglou has gone in to Celtic without any of his own coaching or backroom staff and picked the club up off its knees.

"There are parallels to be drawn here. Some people will say that Howe inherited a basket case of a club and that he deserves more time to turn it around.

"They will argue that the squad left behind by Bruce was a mess and in dire need of improvement in near enough every department.

"Yet, you could say the exact same thing about Celtic last summer when Postecoglou walked through the door.

"In fact, I would actually argue that Celtic were in an even worse state last summer than Newcastle were when Howe took charge a couple of months ago.

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"But Postecoglou has found a way of making it work.

"He has galvanised an entire football club and won the hearts of a fanbase which had become disillusioned.

"Celtic fans must now look back on the events of last year with a grin.

"As Howe toils to make any sort of impact at Newcastle, it looks like they dodged a bullet."

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