Celtic Should Go For McNamara!


So Celtic are now on the lookout for a new manager after former boss Neil Lennon decided it was time for a change.

A whole host of names have been doing the rounds as possible successors. Most of those names have been men that have a strong connection with the Glasgow club such as Jackie McNamara, David Moyes, Malky Mackay, Roy Keane and Henrik Larsson. Another few names being suggested are Owen Coyle and former Brighton boss Oscar Garcia.

I believe that former Celtic captain Jackie McNamara would be the best choice. Before I explain why I’d go for Jackie, let me explain why I don’t think the rest are the real deal.

David Moyes: I think Moyes would be a great choice but I doubt he will see Scotland as the best place to restore his reputation. I’d imagine David thinks he has unfinished business in the English Premier League. I also believe he’d fancy a crack on the continent ahead of a move back up to Glasgow.

Malky Mackay: Another decent candidate. But has he done enough in England to really impress the Celtic fan base? Many might see him as potentially being the next Tony Mowbray.

Roy Keane: He has already distanced himself from the role pointing out he was happy with his job with Ireland and his lucrative TV contract. In all honesty after his time at Sunderland and Ipswich, has he proved he is a good enough coach to take on the Celtic job?

Henrik Larsson: Obviously Henrik will always be seen as a god to the Celtic faithful. His career at Parkhead was extraordinary and his loyalty to the club was outstanding. But that can’t cloud the Glasgow side’s judgement when selecting a new coach. Yes Neil Lennon was also inexperienced when he took the role but he had a few meaningless months to bed in and get used to the role. The new man would come straight into Champions League qualifiers. I think Larsson would be better to continue his coaching education in his homeland. Maybe he can return to Celtic Park after the next boss.

Owen Coyle: A boyhood Celtic fan who impressed at Burnley and St Johnstone. But managerial roles at Bolton and Wigan both went sour and he struggled to make any impact. I would also suggest that the Celtic support might not want him in the hotseat after he snubbed the job a few years ago.

Oscar Garcia: The Barcelona connection is obviously something that catches the eye. He like his teams to play in a nice attacking style. But did he do enough at Brighton to suggest that he is worthy of the Celtic job? I’m not so sure.

Ok so why do I think that Jackie McNamara deserves the chance to take the Celtic managers job?

Well I have various reasons.

Firstly, he has earned his spurs as a coach. At Partick Thistle, Jackie turned the Jags from ordinary also-rans in the First Divison into promotion favourites. He would leave Firhill and take over the reigns at Dundee United and managed to turn them into a top six outfit that play attractive football.

McNamara has impressed at Tannadice and a lot of that is down to his willingness to play young Scottish talent. One criticism I have of Celtic in the past few seasons is their reluctance to play enough of their youth squad you have shown they have a great deal of ability. For me, I think Celtic need a strong, committed manager to show confidence in the younger, Scottish players and play them more often in the league.

It would also be nice to see Scotland’s top club bring in a manager from the Scottish leagues. It gives our whole game a boost. Now obviously that isn’t a huge concern for Celtic but as I’ve already pointed to, McNamara likes to see his teams play well with the ball and attack the opposition. Some might say his sides play the ‘Celtic way’.

At forty Jackie would come in with a bright energetic philosophy and would be desperate to make an instant impression at Parkhead. As a player he served Celtic for ten years, playing under successful ‘Hoops’ managers Wim Jansen and Martin O’Neill. The former Celt captain knows all about the clubs history and winning traditions.

With Rangers, or anyone else for that matter, still far from being realistic challengers to Celtic’s league crown I would say that it could be better for Celtic to groom the next big manager rather than go for an experienced coach like Moyes. Bringing in a younger, cheaper option would also follow Celtic’s current business model.

Let’s be honest, if Celtic were to get any of those on my list of potential candidates they wouldn’t be in a bad place. All of those managers would represent something for the fans or the players. But I’d love to see Celtic bring in a fine young Scottish manager who could relish making the club stronger both domestically and in Europe.

2 Responses to “Celtic Should Go For McNamara!”

  1. McNamara would be about the worst fit for Celtic, unless they want to completely change how the club goes forward.

    The club’s priorities are the all important 10 in a row, qualifying for the Champions League group stages and buying little know foreign imports and selling them on to English clubs for inflated profits.

    McNamara has the least experience out of all those candidates and is still learning – especially with regard to tactics. This may count against him in negotiating the Champions League qualifying rounds for example.

    Although enormous credit has to go to McNamara with the way he has the United first team playing. What you won’t realise, is the work the club coaches do throughout it’s academy. It was radically changed by Craig Levein when he was manager to meet the technical demands of the game. The academy is now the heartbeat of Dundee United and it’s taken time for United to get to the stage they are at. It’s not just as simple as focussing on youth.

    Most of the young Scottish talent that McNamara has at his disposal and the easiness at which they can fit into the systems – credit for that has to go to Levein, the Dundee United youth system/ coaches and the Thompson family for embracing these methods. McNamara seems thrilled to be working with these players and he’s like the perfect fit for the club.

    You can’t just play youngsters (even older players) if they haven’t been taught the right way and expect them to be good technically and to be playing attractive football. They have to be allowed to make mistakes, instant success might have to be sacrificed and you have to put faith in them throughout the whole season, not just the tail end. It’s a long-term commitment.

    Celtic will never allow for this for as long as they need to keep playing qualifying rounds to access the Champions League Group stage money. And domestically, they would be scared to give an inch to Rangers especially if they get a financial injection at some point.

    And why would they change things, as they’ve got a recipe for success in terms of what they can realistically achieve. The club is only going to get richer financially which is all that really matters to guys like Dermont Desmond.

    In 10 years time, with Levein at the helm, Hearts will have something similar to what United have. Rangers and Celtic will be back competing with each other much as they’ve done in the past, with similar short term philosophies based around buying players and foreign imports. And the best young players of both clubs will come to exciting youthful sides like United.

    Perhaps a bit more worthy than being ‘nice’, the work McNamara and United are doing in the league is actually giving the Scottish game a major boost. When was the last time a Scottish club, including Celtic, had scouts from Real Madrid, Roma, Man U, Everton etc. coming to watch a clutch of your players?
    Similarly, i don’t think many teams, if any at all, have been talked about the way United have this season. The way the club is thriving and playing under McNamara is very simliar to Jim Mclean’s youthfall and attacking 80’s United sides. It is much more United’s heritage. I’ve never seen Celtic play the sort of football United have this season and they probably never will. Lennon took the huff about it this this season because even when Celtic were at their best it still wasn’t attractive to the neutral or the media.

    Celtic have always been pretty predictable the way they’ve played the last 15 years i’ve seen them. Yes they attack (as do Rangers) as they are generally expected to pick up 3 points in every match, but it’s not the same as playing exciting technical football. Celtic usually base their play around 1 or 2 players doing something special (Larsson, Moravcik, Commons) etc. or loading the crosses in for big men like Van Hooydonk, Sutton, Hartson etc.

    Whether Jackie sees his work at United as more fulfilling and beneficial to his overall career, than picking up a virtually guaranteed winners medal at Celtic – only he will know. Although Celtic seems a pretty unattractive job for an ambitious manager now and i imagine his long-term goal will be the Premiership either way.

    You would be very lucky to get Moyes, a proven manager in the Premiership, he just couldn’t prove himself at one of the biggest clubs in the world. He won’t get another offer on that scale so Celtic would be a decent option for him especially if they manage to qualify for the Champions League – he’s only had one crack at that competition.

    You’d be very lucky to get Mackay as he does have unfinished business in the Premiership. He got a Championship club promoted to the Premiership which is a greater achievement than any Old Firm manager could manage in Scotland. He’s out of your league though IMO.

    Keane and Larsson would be fine for Celtic as they don’t need a top manager with the amount of resources they have.

    If you do get Coyle, again, you would be pretty fortunate to get a manager who got a side promoted to the Premiership and has experience in that league.

    If you look at Lennon, he will first need to earn his spurs in the Championship first, before he gets a chance of a Premiership job.

  2. Thanks for the comment Duncan.

    Obviously you are right in regards to the academy at United but the right manager still has to credited with picking those players to play at the right time. Plus Celtic have a well oiled youth set up.

    I agree any new manager couldn’t just walk in and play a team full of youngsters. But at this current moment Celtic have an advantage in Scotland that they have no real competitors and that two or three good young players can get a game and a group of 5 or 6 can be rotated throughout the year. The spine of Celtic’s squad will do enough to see Celtic win the majority of their games.

    What is cheaper than the cheap decent foreigners that you can sell on? But players you develop yourself.

    Again you are right, Dundee Utd would benefit if McNamara stayed but I still think Scottish football would get a boost if a talented young Scots boss took over the biggest side.

    He’d have more chance of getting to EPL if he went to Celtic first.

    Yes he is inexperienced in Europe but so have all the realistic targets.

    You said ‘you’ referring to me and Celtic, I am not a Celtic fan.

    Lennon might go to a Championship side but he could also go to a mid-table/lower end EPL side with his current CV.

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