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Immortality or Mediocrity?

Photo by Brian Hargadon, CC BY-SA 2.0 Another day, another banner

Last week’s dramatic events surprised many Hoops fans and pundits not so much that Rodgers was tempted down south with what will undoubtedly be a considerably larger budget at his disposal, but by his timing. It has since emerged that Leicester were happy to wait until the summer for his services, but it was he who pushed for the move now. It has opened the debate once more of Scottish clubs’, and specifically Celtic’s, place in the pecking order when it comes to the managerial merry-go-round.

There are several issues that prevent (or could viably prevent) the likes of Celtic from attracting the best managerial talent. Aside from budgets, there is the perception (real or not) of the weakness of the league and, more than anything, the anonymity of it outside of Scotland itself. For the rest of the world, Scottish football, even the likes of Celtic, just do not register on their radar. Games are merely fixtures that fill up people’s weekly football accas. In the bigger scheme of things, it is perhaps seen as a job with a lot of pressure and very little return, at least for established names.

Surely, though, there is nothing stopping Celtic from recruiting young stars on the upward slope of their career, where a job at Celtic Park would put them in at least some limelight and be a boost for their CV? But does that happen? Where are Celtic on the curve of managers’ careers? Here we look at the men who have taken the post permanently over the last two decades to see their track record before, as well as what they achieved afterwards.

Brendan Rogers

Before Celtic:

Watford, English Championship. 31 Games, 41.94 win percentage. No trophies.

Reading, English Championship. 23 games, 26.09 win percentage. No trophies.

Swansea City, English Championship. 96 games, 44.79 win percentage. Won promotion to the EPL via play-offs.

Liverpool, EPL. 166 games, 50.0 win percentage.

After Celtic:

Leicester City, EPL.

Ronny Deila

Before Celtic:

Brod, Norwegian League 3 (4th tier). 12 games, 58.3 win percentage. No trophies.

Strømsgodset, Norwegian League (tier 1). 187 games, 45.45 win percentage. League title and cup.

After Celtic:

Valerenga, Norwegian League (tier 1). 61 games, 44.26 win percentage. No trophies.

Neil Lennon

After Celtic:

Bolton Wanderers, English Championship. 79 games, 22.8 win percentage. No trophies.

Hibernian, Scottish Championship. 123 games, 48.0 win percentage. Championship title.

Tony Mowbray

Before Celtic:

Hibernian, SPL. 108 games, 48.1 win percentage. No trophies.

West Bromwich Albion, English Championship. 140 games, 40.7 win percentage. Championship title.

After Celtic:

Middlesbrough, English Championship. 153 games, 39.9 win percentage. No trophies.

Coventry City, English League 1 (tier 3). 76 games, 36.2 win percentage. No trophies.

Blackburn Rovers, English Championship. 109 games, 45.9 win percentage. No trophies.

Gordon Strachan

Before Celtic:

Coventry City, EPL. 215 games, 32.56 win percentage. No trophies

Southampton, EPL. 110 games, 35.45 win percentage. No trophies.

After Celtic:

Middlesbrough, English Championship. 46 games, 28.26 win percentage. No trophies.

Scotland. 40 games, 47.5 win percentage. No trophies.

Martin O’Neill

Photo by Dagur Brynjólfsson, CC BY- SA 2.0 Martin O’Neill, one of few managers to manage in the EPL after Celtic

Before Celtic:

Wycombe Wanderers, Conference, (tier 5). 262 games, 53.44 win percentage. 2 promotions.

Norwich City, English Championship.  20 games, 45.0 win percentage. No trophies.

Leicester City, English Championship. 223 games, 38.12 win percentage. Promotion to EPL and 2 league cups.

After Celtic:

Aston Villa, EPL. 190 games, 42.11 win percentage. No trophies.

Sunderland, EPL. 66 games, 31.82 win percentage. No trophies.

Republic of Ireland. 55 games, 34.55 win percentage. No trophies.

Nottingham Forest, English Championship. 7 games, 42.86 win percentage. No trophies.

John Barnes

After Celtic:

Jamaica.11 games, 63.6 win percentage. Caribbean Cup.

Tranmere Rovers, English League 1 (tier 3). 12 games, 25.0 win percentage. No trophies.

Those stats are quite telling. They show three things. First of all, Brendan Rogers is very much in the minority in moving from Celtic to a top-tier English (or high-profile) league. He was also the manager with the most experience at the highest level, before taking over at Celtic Park. There is still a heated debate regarding just how successful or not his time at Liverpool was, but the facts show he still managed at one of the biggest clubs in the EPL prior to his move north of the border.

The second thing that is evident from those figures is that Celtic do at least try to appoint up-and-coming managers, or, at any rate, ones who have the potential of becoming up-and-coming managers. Deila, Lennon, Mowbray, O’Neill and Barnes all fit into that category, and the Celtic board should not be criticised for the fact that not all of them were a success. The final thing that the stats show is perhaps something Leicester City fans and Brendan Rogers himself should take note of. No manager after leaving Celtic Park (John Barnes’ Caribbean Cup aside…) has won a trophy.