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Celtic closing in on Lennon replacement as talks with former Bournemouth boss Howe progress

 

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Leading contender: Eddie Howe is expected to be named Celtic’s new manager

Leading contender: Eddie Howe is expected to be named Celtic’s new manager

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Leading contender: Eddie Howe is expected to be named Celtic’s new manager

Celtic are edging closer to naming Eddie Howe as their new manager.

Talks are at an advanced stage and the former Bournemouth boss is being tipped to succeed Neil Lennon as Hoops supremo.

Former Northern Ireland international Lennon, who returned to the club for a second stint in charge after Brendan Rodgers left to take over at Leicester City in 2019, quit in February.

Howe has held discussions with members of the club's board, including major shareholder Dermot Desmond.

The 43-year-old will be handed a revival mission after Rangers were crowned Scottish Premiership champions with six games to spare, ending Celtic's sequence of nine titles in a row.

Howe left the Cherries last August, when the club's five-year stay in the Premier League came to an end.

Roy Keane and Chris Wilder have also been mentioned as possible candidates for the Celtic post but Howe is keen to return to management and the Glasgow giants are hopeful they can ward off other potential suitors after he was linked with Sheffield United and Newcastle in recent weeks.

Howe was in charge at the Vitality Stadium for more than 450 games across two spells spanning more than a decade, guiding them to three promotions in six seasons.

He also had a stint with Burnley in the Championship from January 2011 to October 2012.

Howe would be expected to tilt the balance of power in Scottish football back in Celtic's favour while producing results in Europe, with Lennon having failed to guide the club past the group stages of the Europa League this term after bowing out of the Champions League in the qualifying rounds.

Chief executive Peter Lawwell is also leaving at the end of the season to be replaced by Dominic McKay, who is moving from Scottish Rugby, and on Wednesday night Celtic announced that Nick Hammond, head of football operations, resigned to "pursue new opportunities".

Meanwhile, Scott Brown has explained how the uncertainty at Celtic played its part in his move to Aberdeen.

The 35-year-old Hoops captain will relocate to Pittodrie in a player-coach role under new boss Stephen Glass in the summer after 14 success-laden years at Celtic Park, where he won 22 trophies.

Ahead of the Scottish Cup third-round tie against League One side Falkirk tomorrow night, midfielder Brown said: "I got offered another year at Celtic. It is a hard situation just now because it would have to be sitting waiting to the end of the season to see who comes in.

"For me, to have that fresh start with someone I know, trust and respect fully, and maybe sitting in at Celtic to the end of the season not sure what to do or who is coming in - I think that played on my mind as well.

"It will be a sad time when I do leave but it has been fantastic, I have enjoyed every moment of it, winning trophies, winning games, playing in front of our fantastic fans."

Asked if he had considered staying on to help with the transition at the Parkhead club, Brown said: "That was always in the back of my mind as well. I think I have to look at the selfish point of view as well.

"Aberdeen offered me a two-year deal and it was an offer I couldn't turn down."

Celts interim boss John Kennedy admitted he was saddened by Brown's decision.

"It is obviously disappointing for us," he said. "We would have loved to have kept him at the cub because he is such an important figure and he has been for such a considerable period of time, with huge success.

"We felt he still had more in the tank but he seen a new challenge he wants to take on and we have to respect that."

Belfast Telegraph


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