As the 2,300+ replies to Celtic’s full-time tweet on Sunday evening will tell you, Neil Lennon, and the club as a whole, are in a spot of bother.
Their fiercest rivals now need just seven points to win the title and finally stop the Bhoys in their tracks. They have won the league nine seasons in a row but at long last, their strong grasp over Scottish soccer is being surrendered.
The Hoops have been shocking this season and it is surely only a matter of time before Lennon is shown the exit door. He has claimed that he won’t exit his post unless he is forced to but even that feels farfetched given the support that Dermot Desmond and Peter Lawwell have shown.
Though, if he does leave, who will walk through the door? Eddie Howe has been linked, while fellow Englishmen John Terry and Frank Lampard have both been talked up.
“You’re looking at both clubs and this is obviously Steven Gerrard’s third season there. If either of these guys, Terry or Lampard, come in, you’re looking at them hitting the ground running,” Kevin Campbell told soccer Insider.
“You look at that Celtic squad and of course they can do it because they’ve won nine-in-a-row,” he continued.
The job at hand cannot be underestimated, however. As many as 12 players could depart this summer and if an exodus does occur, one of the players they have to build the squad around is young defender Stephen Welsh.
He’s only played 12 times for the Hoops but if a coach like Terry arrives, it could be game-changing for the central defender.
The 21-year-old has impressed during his minimal opportunities this term and based on what Terry has done for the defenders at Aston Villa, he could take Welsh to a brand new level.
Villa defender Tyrone Mings called the 40-year-old the “perfect mentor” for the work they’ve done together. You only need to look at the way Villa transformed a struggling defence under the stewardship of Terry during their promotion-winning campaign in 2018/19 to understand what he can bring to a team.
Mings isn’t the only one to hail Terry, however. The club’s marauding left-back Matt Targett told The Times last week that regular Zoom meetings with the former England international were game-changing during lockdown.
“We go through clips and say what I’ve done well, what I need to improve on. If my body shape’s wrong, John goes up to the screen and shows me the body shape I should be in.”
“He’s probably one of the best people to learn from,” Targett added.
On the opposite side of the pitch, Matty Cash has also reserved praise for Terry’s influence on the training pitch: “We do a lot of work with him as a unit and it shows.”
From fighting relegation last season, Villa are now firmly in the race for Europe. Together with Dean Smith, Terry has taken a bunch of young defenders under his wing and made them some of the most consistent players in the English top-flight.
His influence on a player like Welsh, therefore, is exciting to think about. He’s just 21 years of age and with his best years undoubtedly on the horizon, it could be a blossoming partnership.
All Desmond and Lawwell need to do now is to convince Terry to move to Glasgow. With their current form, that may be easier said than done.
AND in other news, Get rid: Celtic gem who won just 14.2% of his duels continues to be a problem…