I’VE nailed my colours to the mast in terms of who I would like to be the next Celtic manager. It would make sense to me to stick with the momentum and good work that Neil Lennon has been doing.

I can’t ignore the fact though there is a yearning from large sections of the Celtic support for a manager with top-level European experience.

For me, Neil has probably swayed a good few to his side with the way he has handled the team since coming in, but I do recognise that the overriding sentiment from the fanbase is that they would genuinely like to see a change.

I must admit, although I still believe that Neil deserves the job and should get it, even my ears pricked up when I heard a manager of Jose Mourinho’s calibre being linked with the post last week.

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Now, we don’t know how much truth there is in the reports coming out of Italy. And we have to bear in mind as well that Mourinho has been sacked from his last three jobs at Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester United.

And if you think Neil used to give Celtic a few issues with his touchline antics and what have you, this man would take it to a whole new level. He’s outspoken, he’s controversial, but over and above all that, he is a vastly experienced and hugely successful winner as a manager.

I’m not naïve enough to think that if Mourinho had a genuine interest in coming, then the vast majority of fans would probably throw their weight behind him. I put the question out there on Twitter the other day and the overwhelming response was that the fans would like to see Mourinho take the job if a deal could possibly be done.

The two big questions I would have is how much wages he would command, and how much money would he have to spend? Are Celtic in a position to throw 50 or 60 million at Mourinho when you factor in wages for him and his staff, and the players he would want to bring in to take Celtic to that next level in terms of competing better in Europe? If you were going to appoint Mourinho, you would have to back that up by giving him the tools.

Celtic haven’t done anything near that for 20 years, when they brought Martin O’Neill in and gave him an open cheque-book to bring in players such as myself, Alan Thompson, Chris Sutton and Neil. But he brought great success to the football club.

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A lot of fans will never forgive Mourinho for the way Porto behaved against Celtic in the UEFA Cup Final. He was enticing his players to dive down under no pressure and waste time. It was an absolute disgrace.

I don’t know the man, all I know is that he has been extremely successful throughout his career. But he comes with a lot of baggage as well.

If he is available and is willing, a lot of supporters would say it is a no-brainer. It would be the biggest shock in Scottish football since Graeme Souness signed Mo Johnston. In fact, it would probably surpass everything.

While Celtic fans might be getting excited though, it’s not as if Neil would just be a safe pair of hands either. I genuinely do think he could take us forward given the funds and the support. But when somebody like a Mourinho or a Rafa Benitez becomes available, the general feeling from a huge part of the support would be to get him in.

Until I hear it out of the horse’s mouth, I’ll stick to backing Neil as the best man for the job.