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Prem and EFL duo tipped to become new Celtic boss

A Prem and EFL duo has been tipped by ex-player turned pundit Chris Sutton to become the new boss of Scottish Premiership outfit Celtic.

He wants his old club to consider Preston North End manager Alex Neil as they look at their options to replace Neil Lennon, according to the Daily Record.

Lennon’s second stint at Celtic Park ended in February after a dismal season which saw the Hoops fail in their quest to win 10 Scottish Premiership titles in a row – losing that to Rangers.

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Steven Gerrard has brought back the glory days at Rangers as the green side of Glasgow caused controversy for much of the campaign, so much so that they’ve axed Lennon, looking for his replacement, and with some addition staff at the club stepping down.

Bookmaker odds suggest that the likes of Roy Keane, Enzo Maresca and Eddie Howe are among the front-runners, but sometimes it doesn’t take much for a thought process to be swayed off course, especially if your former player starts giving his verdict.

One man who is an outsider, sitting at 20/1 according to Sky Bet is Preston boss Alex Neil, who has been at Deepdale for four years now however patience is growing thin especially as they are yet to even have a go at the playoffs.

Preston currently sit 15th in the Championship table, taking 44 points from 35 games played for the 2020/21 season so far.

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Sutton, speaking on our Record Celtic podcast said: “I do think Sean Dyche really deserves to be given an opportunity. I’m not saying Burnley aren’t a big club but at a bigger club than Burnley – and it’s whether he’s had enough of the Burnley project.

“He’s a really interesting one because he gets tarred with this brush that Burnley are just a lump-it team but he has worked wonders on a small budget.

“He’s kept them up. I know they went down but they bounced straight back up and he’s built and structured a club who are now regulars in the Premier League.

“That’s an amazing achievement and the fact is he has organised the team so well so he needs eventually to be given an opportunity at a bigger club.

“He is not a daftie, Sean Dyche. He’ll understand about brands of football and whatever but give him the correct tools, then I’m sure he would do really well at Celtic. We know the job Michael O’Neill did with Northern Ireland working with average players and getting the most out of them.”

Though questions remain on Dyche’s future and – especially on Burnley’s takeover by American investment firm ALK Capital including what that means for the club.

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Sutton tipped another manager, saying: “Alex Neil is another one. He gets a bit of a bashing at times for the job he does at Preston but I don’t see them as a team with a budget up there with the teams who are going to push for promotion.

“They play a decent brand of football, he’s an organiser and knows the Scottish game.”

Steven Gerrard has successfully managed to succeed at Rangers in his first job but Sutton said: “It’s a big ask from Maresca to step up into the Glasgow environment and take over a club of Celtic’s size.

“Would he be able to have the personality and character to cope with that being his first job? Now it’s not impossible. He may be a brilliant coach. But at this moment in time that’s a big ask with the current squad or the shape it will be in at the start of next season.

“There’s different traits you have to put into the mix. Does he have the character, does he have the personality, does he have the coaching ability. He may be a brilliant coach but other things are important.

“Look across the city at Gerrard. His character, his personality, his will to win have shone through and he has got there in the end surrounded by good staff.

“For Maresca to come in would represent a huge risk. Having said that we still don’t know who the director of football would be. Maybe there is a thought process there will be a combination there.

“The manager’s profile is so important. I’m not saying he’d do a bad job and maybe Celtic could utilise the relationship with City.

“That’s an option. But the reason I signed for Celtic was Martin O’Neill. When Rangers sign players now, the first thing they say is they signed because of Gerrard.”

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Sutton ruled out current interim John Kennedy, although he does feel the coach may make the top job in the future.

He added: “It just can’t happen. Listen, John is a good club man and a good Celtic man but what message would that send to the supporters?

“John has been part of the Neil Lennon regime and a loyal servant to the club and him but that would be such an underwhelming appointment.

“With the greatest of respect to John, and he may end up managing Celtic in future years, but he can’t manage Celtic next season. That’s a no-no appointment. Now is not the right time.”

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