Cooney and Black

Lawwell may follow Lennon out of Parkhead

Celtic Park
I WAS spot on when I was the first to reveal that Neil Lennon would be leaving Celtic.

Followers of No Grey Areas were tipped off weeks ago that Lennon was poised to quit. Now I believe a second high profile figure may soon follow Lennon out of Celtic Park – chief executive Peter Lawwell.

The majority shareholder Dermot Desmond wants Roy Keane as Lennon’s successor and I believe that could hasten Lawwell’s departure.

Why do I think that? My gut instinct is that Keane wouldn’t be Lawwell’s preferred choice. Keane doesn’t strike me as the sort who is prepared to compromise and take instructions. I also get the distinct impression that when he sets his mind on doing something, he’s unshakable.

Lennon was Lawwell’s man. Keane is Desmond’s and I suspect there would be an inevitable clash of personalities.

It’s no secret either that Lawwell has been touting himself for high-powered chief executives roles with Premiership clubs. He was keen on the Arsenal job and there have been one or two others.

So, watch this space, and remember who told you first when there are further changes at the top at Celtic.

To be honest, I do think Lawwell really wanted to do more to try to persuade Lennon to stay. I believe he had already made his mind up that next season would be Lennon’s last and it suited him when the manager announced he was quitting.

No great effort was made to persuade Johan Mjallby to stay and it was made clear that other changes were required in the coaching staff, including Garry Parker leaving.

I reckon Lawwell thought the treble was a gimme, given how little pressure there is on Celtic at the moment domestically.

Lawwell expected a clean sweep of honours and losing to Morton in the League Cup and going out of the Scottish Cup to Aberdeen constituted major disappointments.

So, no great effort was made to keep Lennon. Significantly, there has been no gnashing of teeth or wailing from within in the wake of the announcement.

At least that was the feeling I got and I am sure Lennon read all the signs and reacted accordingly.

But if he’s honest with himself, he’ll probably reflect that he should have acted sooner when his stock was at its highest in the wake of Celtic beating Barcelona and qualifying for the last 16 in the Champions League.

If Keane does get the job I expect he’ll shake the place up and the fact that there are no credible challengers to Celtic’s dominance in the SPFL and Rangers are still stumbling around in the wilderness would probably make the transition fairly straightforward.

But while Desmond would be quite happy to see Keane in charge, I don’t think Lawwell would share that feeling.

Lennon was Lawwell’s man and he had to put up with a lot. Keane does not fit into the same category, in my opinion.

But, let’s be perfectly frank, the Honey Monster could move into the Celtic dug-out at the moment and be expected to win the treble.

But, judging by their initial reaction to the news, whether the fans feel the same way about Keane is a different matter entirely.

 

 
PICTURE COURTESY OF: Stephen McKeown

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