Auld: Celtic need long-term boss like Stein


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Celtic legend Bertie Auld promotes a documentary about club icon Jock Stein on BBC Alba
Celtic legend Bertie Auld promotes a documentary about club icon Jock Stein on BBC Alba

A boss to lead Celtic to a record-breaking 10-in-a-row.

Only those prepared to spend the next seven years at Parkhead need apply.

It's not quite the job advert the Parkhead club have placed. But, perhaps it should be.

Four years now appears to be the shelf-life in the hot seat.

Jock Stein was the last man to stay for considerably longer, lasting 13 trophy-laden seasons.

But those days of stability have long gone, with a dozen men having followed in Jock's footsteps since he was removed from office less than 36 years ago.

Now, though, a golden opportunity is there for someone to see this as an open door to creating history, with three-in-a-row already secured.

And Bertie Auld - one of the key Hoops players as they established domination of the championship from 1965-66 until 73-74 - is as eager as any other fan to find out who is going to grasp this challenge.

He would like to be able to look in the eyes of the candidates to see if that desire and determination burned within and said: "You would need to be in the position of interviewing them to see what they are made of.

"What I can tell you is that, if Billy McNeill or Davie Hay at their peak - someone of that type who has been brought up with the history of the club and has a passion for Celtic - was in for it, that would do.

"The people interested in the job know they will have plenty of publicity and success.

"But, do they want the headaches that go with this? I don't know.

"It's only when you are interviewing someone you can really sense the truth and a lie."

The interviews being carried out to find the successor to Neil Lennon are being conducted by major shareholder, Dermot Desmond, and chief executive, Peter Lawwell.

So far, initial discussions with Henrik Larsson and Roy Keane have failed to bring the process to a swift conclusion, with Ronny Deila of Stromsgodset emerging as the latest hot tip.

Auld admits he thought the Republic of Ireland assistant boss was going to be appointed.

And he is upset to see the chance to manage the club he loves being rejected.

The 76-year-old Lisbon Lion said: "I'm very disappointed and surprised to see people turning it down.

"It must be due to something I don't know anything about because, I will tell you this much, that fantastic support will be there waiting for whoever gets the job.

"They have the passion, but you have to give them something to cheer. So, the big thing is winning, but also entertaining."

Lennon spoke of wanting to bring the thunder back, and repaired much of the damage done during Tony Mowbray's short spell in charge.

But, eventually, the former skipper decided he could take them no further, and Auld can understand why he elected to seek a fresh challenge.

"I think what happened to Neil was about the ins and outs, the transfers and the signings," he said.

"You can't keep doing that. You can't ask an apprentice to do a journeyman's job."

The budget available, the lack of genuine competition in the title race, and the immediate demands placed upon whoever takes over - their first games in charge will be the crucial Champions League qualifiers - make the job prospectus unique.

It's certainly not a position anyone will jump into without giving it serious consideration.

But, though there is growing unrest among sections of the support, Auld is in accord with Lawwell in insisting it is the right appointment rather than a fast appointment.

The preference is to have someone who buys into the long-term plans of the club.

"It will all depend what the individual wants," said Auld, speaking at the preview screening of purpleTV's new documentary 'Jock Stein' which will be broadcast on BBC Alba on Monday at 9pm.

"Is it a quick fix? I don't think managing Celtic is a quick fix, or that this club deserves to be treated as a quick fix.

"Everybody must look in the mirror and ask themselves what they are in it for.

"Few have done more than four or five years in the recent past.

"But, we should be looking for someone who will go the full way in the job, and get the benefit Jock got when he did this.

"The marvellous thing about him was he wanted to manage the club, even when he was a player."

Auld went on: "He did the right thing for himself when he went to Dunfermline to start out in management.

"He was going out on a limb because they were no great shakes at that time.

"Jock got them clear of relegation, and went on to win the cup with them.

"He got it in his locker about how to get his team to play with their backs against the wall, playing with a sweeper when people were telling him that was the wrong way to go.

"It was about building blocks, educating himself as well as the players. And, when he moved to Easter Road, he added to his knowledge.

"Hibs are a fabulous club, and I was fortunate to play for them and then to manage them after six years in charge of Partick Thistle. That was long enough for me at Firhill, and it was time to move on."

With managers in England's top flight regularly failing to survive even one season, six years has a permanency about it which today's bosses can only dream about.

Auld understands why the financial rewards on offer down south make it a gamble many are happy to take.

But, he believes the stability on offer at Parkhead is a massive counter to this.

"The game has changed because it's not football people who are in the business now, in terms of owners and chairmen," is Auld's take on what is happening in instant return-England.

"At one time, people put money into clubs and were quite content to let the manager or the coach to do his job.

"Now, they want to dictate to each and every person.

"That should never, ever happen. And it is good this is not the case at Celtic."


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