Dubai: So Brendan Rodgers will not be at Celtic to see them win a record-breaking 10 Scottish Premiership titles in a row.
The Northern Irishman on Tuesday opened talks to take over at Leicester City, who sacked manager Claude Puel last week.
Now the big question in the east end of Glasgow is who do Celtic look to now as they close in on the coveted decade of titles (they are on course for their eighth this term the record stands at nine, jointly held by the Hoops and arch-rivals Rangers).
All the signs are pointing to Hibernian boss Neil Lennon, who managed Celtic for four years after taking over in 2010.
To me that is a step back. While it is a shame Rodgers has chosen to return to England, where he was previously coach at Liverpool and Swansea, the club need to be looking for promising fresh talent, not reverting to type and getting in a former boss and player who also departed for a job in England when Bolton Wanderers came calling.
Lennon’s time in the Celtic hot seat was marred by off-field controversies, too, the lowest point being when he was sent death threats and bullets from Northern Irish homeland in the post. The real danger of installing Lennon is, it may bring with it a return to those dark days, and the low-life thugs will creep back out of the shadows to add to the sectarian hatred that always simmers in the west of Scotland.
Now, he’s not even on the bookies’ longlist — nevermind the shortlist — but bare with me. I think the return of another Parkhead hero could usher in a whole new era for Celtic and lure in the players the club will need to get to 10 in a row.
That man is Henrik Larsson, who would be welcomed with open arms by the Celtic faithful. We have recently seen a host of big-name retired players take up big managerial roles across the UK — Frank Lampard at Derby, John Terry at Aston Villa, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United and, crucially, Steven Gerrard at Rangers — and they have all brought with them a modern knowledge of the game, the character to unite a dressing room and the ability to lure players who want to play for such a sporting icon.
Larsson was a goal machine during his playing days at Celtic, netting 53 goals in 2000—01 to win the European Golden Shoe and he was pivotal in ending Rangers bid for a 10th title during his first season in green and white in 1997.
While he has had a mixed career as a manager — he won promotion with Falkenberg back in his native Sweden before overseeing Helsingborgs’ relegation — but his coaching CV still reads better than the likes of Solskjaer, who is working wonders at United.
Moreover, such is his legacy at Parkhead, players will be queuing around the block to be part of Larsson’s plans. You only have to look across Glasgow to see how Gerrard has attracted stars such as Jermain Defoe, Steve Davis and Kyle Lafferty to ply their trade in the light blue of Rangers.
So, c’mon Celtic, get with the times and get a progressive young man like Larsson in instead of Lennon. What a story it would be if the King of Kings got Celtic to 10 win on a row.