The mark of any Celtic manager isn’t how they do in the League – it is almost an inevitable for them not to win the title after Rangers got relegated – but how well they do in European competition. While Neil Lennon went off to try his luck in England and has somewhat struggled for Bolton, Ronny Delia hasn’t covered himself with a lot of glory in Europe.
The Celtic manager had to deal with more disappointment as Celtic were knocked out of the Europa League, this time in the group stage. This was worse than what they achieved last season when they exited in the round of 32 thanks to a 4-3 loss on aggregate to Inter Milan.
Celtic have to do better in Europe that was the task that Delia was given when he took over the club in 2014. While the first season could be forgiven as he tried to acquaint himself with Scottish football, the same cannot be said this time around. Celtic have regressed under Delia, there are no two ways about it and with no one actually providing them with a stern test in the league, Europe is the only proper barometer for their improvement or decline as it were in his two years of charge.
Whether Delia wins the Scottish Premiership or not isn’t the question being asked here, can he make the team and squad any better if he were to stay? Probably not, his future is in the balance and with no European football left, his time at Celtic Park is coming to an end. With all the history behind Celtic, the club do need someone who can do well in Europe but bringing a world class manager to Scotland isn’t easy, we look at three realistic candidates who could get the job should Delia get the sack.
3. Neil Lennon
Well, the Bolton project hasn’t really gone off as well as Lennon would have expected. With reports coming in that Bolton are in a financial mess and players have not been paid for the month, they also sit bottom of the Championship and could well be relegated come the end of the season. Lennon would hope to get back to familiar ground and could well be the saviour for Celtic next season.
The Northern Irishman brought a lot of tenacity and grit to the team and even got them performing in the Champions League when they reached that stage. He might consider going back to Scotland as a bit of a blip in his managerial career since he really couldn’t do much at Bolton, but Celtic fans would certainly take him with arms wide open.