Celtic True or False | Manager Deadline, Lennon, Treble & Weah

In Celtic True or False, a handpicked panel of 90 Minute Cynic writers (i.e. whoever could be bothered) decide on whether they agree or disagree with five statements about current ongoings at Celtic Football Club. This time, Matt Evans, Graeme McKay, Keith McGinty and Daniel McGowan deliver their verdict on Celtic’s managerial deadline, Timothy Weah, Neil Lennon’s Dundee celebrations, whether the club should make Jeremy Toljan’s deal permanent and if Celtic will clinch the Treble Treble.

Brendan Rodgers was appointed on the 20th May. The week after the cup final on 25th May has to be the Celtic board’s deadline for announcing who should be the next permanent Celtic manager.

Evans: TRUE. The next manager needs to be in before the summer window and well before the Champions League qualifiers in July. The Rodgers signing, at the time, was a massive coup, and I have concerns about the board being able to pull another rabbit out of the hat, this time on very short notice.

McKay: FALSE. The next permanent Celtic manager should be appointed when he is available. The earlier the better, obviously, but no point rushing into an appointment and perhaps not getting the right person.

McGinty: FALSE. While the Club should be talking to potential candidates just now it is important that the right manager is in place by the start of July at the latest. At the end of the season more candidates may be available and while there will be a clamour to have someone appointed sooner it is imperative that Lawwell makes the correct choice. His Celtic legacy depends on it.

McGowan: FALSE. The real work that needs to be done involves creating a long-term strategy before appointing a head coach. Ideally, that appointment would come early, but only once other things are in place. I think 26th or 27th May could be the day, especially if Neil Lennon secures the Treble and wins the position permanently.

Result: True 1, False 2

Cynic Verdict: False

Timothy Weah is the most talented of Celtic’s loan signings and should have had significant more playing time by now.

Evans: FALSE. I would say that Weah has the most potential of Celtic’s loan signings, but he just turned nineteen, has little experience of the Scottish game, and is not yet a complete player. In the one match he’s started since he arrived, he didn’t make all that much of a difference, but he’s been very effective as a super-sub. And that’s where he should feature for Celtic. If you want to give Edouard a rest, start Vakoun Bayo; he’s our player.

McKay: FALSE. Two managers have now used Weah sparingly, which suggests to me that he is perhaps not the answer right now. He seems to work best from the bench in games that are being stretched.  Looks a right good counter attacking player. 

McGinty: TRUE. However, what is his best position? His movement and pace are undoubtedly major assets but how effective are they against a stubborn and compact side like Dundee? I’d like to see him play in any of the attacking midfield places but only after the Rangers game. I feel he makes a real impact as a substitute, especially in the Glasgow Derby.

McGowan: TRUE. I think Benkovic is the most talented loan player at Celtic. However, Weah clearly has lots of potential and is a more talented player than Oliver Burke, who am I still not sold on. Weah has had a massive impact from the bench and deserves his chance. However, in the few games he has started, he has looked a bit lost in amongst defences that play a low block. 

 Result: True 2, False 2

Cynic Verdict: Undecided

Having a go at Neil Lennon’s celebrations after Celtic’s late winner against Dundee is distinctly unfair.

Evans: TRUE. Did I have a moment where I thought, “Well, this is a little disingenuous”? I sure did. But such a celebration is perfectly in character for Neil Lennon. He’s an emotional guy. Quite frankly, if that match had ended 0-0 he would have been under quite a bit of pressure going into the derby on the 31st, so I’m sure he was feeling as much relief as joy. I don’t think you can ever slate anyone for celebrating a last-minute winner.

McKay: TRUE. Football is theatrical. Klopp does it, Mourinho has done it. People say that it was only Dundee and we had not played very well, but it was a massively important win for someone that really wants this appointment to work.

McGinty: TRUE. Trying to explain to someone who doesn’t follow sports, especially football, what it is like to feel that spontaneous shared euphoria of an important goal is incredibly difficult. We all celebrate in our own way. We all lose ourselves in that wonderful moment. The only issue I have is that I feel the running to the fans was an attempt to get the fans onside in Lennon’s attempt to make the job his permanently.

McGowan: TRUE. The celebration police were out in full force again on Sunday. Let’s get this straight – last minute winners are the best thing in football. I adore that feeling of tension and nerves culminating in euphoric relief. It’s like a drug. We already live in a numbing, anaesthetised world so we should cherish, not diminish, moments of elation. If you don’t like to see emotion in sport, away and watch the golf.

Result: True 4, False 0

Cynic Verdict: True

If they can agree a deal for £4m or less, Celtic should sign Jeremy Toljan permanently.

Evans: FALSE. I thought Toljan had a pretty good start to his loan spell at Celtic, but having seen him now for a couple months, I’m not sure he’s any great improvement on Cristian Gamboa. He’s going to cost at least £4m, and for that price I think Celtic can do better. If somehow he can be had for £2-3m, then I think the signing would be worth it for a backup RB, but he’s not the answer as a starter.

McKay: UNSURE:  He needs to show a lot more. Regain the form that got him his move to Dortmund. The rest of the season is his trial period.  If i was deciding right now, then definitely not. 

McGinty: FALSE. While it is difficult to join a club on loan and showcase all of your talents I feel there has to be better options available. Defensively he has been lacking, although unlucky to be sent off vs. Valencia his positioning was poor, and whilst offensively it is nice to see a full back assisting Forrest his delivery and inter-play are not of the required standard. Put the money to better use elsewhere.

McGowan: FALSE. Just because you are on the same books as Marco Reus, doesn’t mean you’re anywhere near as good as him. Toljan started fairly brightly but, as he has settled into consistent playing time, he has looked distinctly average. While he has more pace than Mikael Lustig, his final ball is woeful in comparison to the Swede’s. Saying that, both Lustig and Cristian Gamboa are out of contract in the summer, so Celtic will need numbers in the right-back position.

Result: True 0, False 3, Bottled it 1

Cynic Verdict: FALSE

Celtic will win the treble this season.

Evans: TRUE. It’ll be two difficult Scottish Cup ties, but, as always, the only thing that can stop Celtic from winning is Celtic.

McKay: TRUE. Of course, treble treble! Having said that, Aberdeen is a wee bit of a worry given the recent draw at Celtic Park, Lennon’s cup record and the fact that he only won once against them in the last 7 encounters with Hibs. Hopefully we have big players back

McGinty: FALSE. Neil Lennon hasn’t beaten Derek McInnes’ Aberdeen side all season. I feel Aberdeen will frustrate Celtic at Hampden and worry we won’t have the patience or ideas to break them down. That is not to say Lennon is a poor coach, it is more a compliment to Rodgers and his staff. Hopefully Rogic will return in time to break Dons` hearts all over again.

McGowan: FALSE. Celtic will win the league but I am doubtful about the Scottish Cup. Aberdeen and (most likely) Hearts are going to be two very challenging, physical opponents. I wonder how much Neil Lennon’s boom-and-bluster managerial style will help the players, given that they are more used to Brendan Rodgers’ inherent calmness. While it is a different team now from 2010-2014, Neil Lennon’s cup and Hampden records are quite woeful. I wonder whether it is down to his ability to keep the players calm on the big day. I have a bad feeling about this…

Result: True 2, False 2

Cynic Verdict: Undecided

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