Celtic are reportedly interested in raiding English Championship side Stoke City for manager Michael O’Neill, which would see the Hoops hire a third consecutive Northern Irish manager – and Kyle Lafferty heaped praise on the boss in 2016.
Rangers are now just four points away from winning their 55th Scottish Premiership title, and stopping Celtic’s pursuit of 10 in a row. They beat Livingston 1-0 thanks to Alfredo Morelos’ late goal on Wednesday night, and are within an inch of the title.
Celtic, meanwhile, are still looking for Lennon’s successor. Eddie Howe, Frank Lampard, Roberto Martinez and plenty more have been linked – but the latest report claims Celtic are to consider Stoke boss O’Neill after impressing at the Britannia Stadium.
The 90Min report claims Celtic are keen on O’Neill, who has taken Stoke from the relegation zone last season – to the top half of the Championship table. Rangers icon Lafferty claimed, in 2016, that “everything he does is spot on”.
“We can’t look to blame anyone else. We can’t blame the manager because everything he does is spot on. It’s up to us and how much we want to send the country to the Euros,” Lafferty told the Mirror five years ago, as Northern Ireland went to Euro 2016.
TBR’s view – O’Neill a top manager, but does he have the required calibre?
Celtic need a big-name manager. Rangers decided to hire one of the biggest there is in Steven Gerrard – and that produced two crucial aspects of Gerrard’s reign. It made the Rangers players trust him, and buy into what he wanted.
But also it attracted big players to Ibrox. Recruitment for both sides is crucial given that they need as much revenue as possible. O’Neill has the quality as a manager, but does he have the name to convince players to move north of the border?
Certainly, not as much as Gerrard.