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Celtic may have to wait on Eddie Howe

Meanwhile, Dominic McKay will work with his retiring predecessor Peter Lawwell from 19 April after his early exit from the Scottish Rugby Union was confirmed.

Eddie Howe (file pic).
Eddie Howe (file pic).
Image: PA

CELTIC HAVE QUICKENED the arrival of incoming chief executive Dominic McKay but may face a longer wait to bring in Eddie Howe as manager.

McKay had been due to join the club on 1 July as Peter Lawwell’s replacement, but will work with his retiring predecessor from 19 April after his early exit from the Scottish Rugby Union was confirmed.

The SRU confirmed that its chief operating officer would depart earlier than planned with its best wishes “following a successful handover of his duties and responsibilities”.

A Celtic statement soon added: “Peter Lawwell continues in his role as chief executive officer and board member until 30 June.

“Dom will join the club from 19 April, working with Peter and the executive team to ensure a smooth transition, until Dom takes on the role of chief executive officer and board member on 1 July.”

The recruitment of Guinness PRO14 chairman McKay was originally announced on 29 January, when it was also revealed that Lawwell was retiring in the summer after 17 years in the position.

The succession is not the only imminent major change in personnel at Celtic Park and the scale of the transition may mean the club have to wait until the end of the season for Howe to arrive.

The former Bournemouth boss has been in talks with Celtic, who have a Scottish Cup fourth-round tie against newly-crowned champions Rangers at Ibrox on 17 April.

The Glasgow club are also seeking a director of football and recently announced the departure of Nick Hammond, who was their head of football operations.

Reports claim Howe is keen to bring in Bournemouth technical director Richard Hughes, the former Scotland midfielder, if he signs on at Celtic, and that wish could further prolong the already lengthy negotiations.

Howe might also wish to start off with a clean slate in the summer with John Kennedy currently in place as interim manager after stepping up when Neil Lennon departed.

The summer rebuild is set to be a major one with skipper Scott Brown moving to Aberdeen after 14 years and the likes of Kristoffer Ajer and Odsonne Edouard likely to be looking for big moves.

Mohamed Elyounoussi, Jonjoe Kenny, Shane Duffy and Diego Laxalt are on loan while the likes of Ryan Christie and Leigh Griffiths only have another year on their contracts.

Other players such as goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas and forwards Albian Ajeti and Patryk Klimala have struggled to make the desired impact.

Former Celtic assistant boss Johan Mjallby expects Howe to wait until the summer.

“The dream scenario would be that he comes in straight away because that gives him time to see the squad in action and make his own mind up where he needs to recruit,” the Swede told the Celtic Huddle podcast. “But I think he will come in the summer.”

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Mjallby believes there is plenty to be excited about on Howe’s potential appointment.

“I remember when I was assistant manager at Bolton alongside Neil and Bournemouth were running away with the Championship,” he said. “They were extremely good and effective and had a very attractive way of playing football.

“During that season they wanted to go on the attack all time. You have to have the players and they had really good players. Even in the Premier League, they always tried to play possession football and tried to attack.

“He is a really, really good manager to get. He has done well with Bournemouth in the Premier League, but it’s a big difference to being manager of Celtic than Bournemouth.

“No disrespect to Bournemouth, but at Celtic you need to hit the ground running straight away and get used to winning every single game, not winning every second or third game, which was a success at Bournemouth. Obviously I know he knows about this.

“But as a manager and the way he wants to play football, I think it’s a good coup for Celtic.”

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