The end of season managerial merry-go-round continued spinning into overdrive this week with a number of the vacant posts being filled.
One of the more interesting appointments was the hiring of Billy Dodds by Inverness Caledonian Thistle following his time there as assistant to Neil McCann for the closing months of the last campaign.
I know he had impressed with his coaching ability and work ethic, and when Neil made it clear he could not take the job because of other commitments, Doddsy was always the club’s number one target.
Full disclosure: I have been friends with Billy for decades, and I know it was a big decision for him, but after years as a number two or coach, he had always wanted to be his own man. This opportunity suited him and with the club on a solid footing and sharing his ambition, it looks like a very good match-up.
That does not guarantee anything, and he will be well aware that a lot of hard work lies ahead, but that is not something he is scared of, and the club can rest assured he will put his heart and soul into the job.
Among the other new bosses gearing up for fresh challenges are Paul Sheerin – who has taken over a post with real potential at Falkirk – and Barry Ferguson, who after guiding Kelty to the SPFL, has stepped up a level or two and will attempt to lead Alloa Athletic back up to the Championship at the first time of asking. Both look intriguing prospects.
At the top level, Dundee United are sifting through potential replacements for Mickey Mellon while Celtic, after the Eddie Howe fiasco, continue their search for a successor to Neil Lennon.
Deeply embarrassing situation for Celtic
All the signs are that the Greek-born Australian, Ange Postecoglou, is now their favoured option with talks apparently ‘at an advanced stage’.
The initial response from Celtic fans was inevitably lukewarm, and I have to admit that I had never heard of him, but reaction from those who know and have worked with the 55-year-old has been positive, and he certainly has a pretty impressive winning record as a coach and manager.
That said, looking after Brisbane Roar or the Yokohama Marinos hardly equates to taking on one of the most high-pressure posts in European football, particularly at this time with the Parkhead club in disarray and seemingly miles behind their city rivals on and off the pitch.
With the club having applied for a UEFA exemption to circumvent Postecoglou not having the required Pro Licence, this is not likely to be resolved in the immediate future. The suggestion is it could take several weeks, and that is time Celtic simply do not have.
They could take the risk and press ahead with the squad restructuring he wants, but if they do not get the thumbs-up from Nyon, the Parkhead club will be back at the drawing board with the new season getting ever closer.
Neil Lennon left the club on February 24. It is beyond belief that they are still scrambling around trying to fill the vacancy; and should be a deeply embarrassing situation for those who have allowed it to happen.
Almost time for the games to begin
This time next week, Euro 2020 will have kicked-off and we will be just 48 hours away from Scotland’s long-awaited return to a major Finals against the Czech Republic at Hampden.
Having been at the national stadium last week to pick up my accreditation for the tournament, and seen the UEFA branding festooned everywhere, my nervous anticipation has been mounting, and that has intensified with the national team getting back on the pitch.
The performance in the draw with the Netherlands was hugely encouraging and a few players have certainly given Steve Clarke food for thought.
The manager has one more warm-up, in Luxembourg tomorrow evening, and then it will be full steam ahead to that all-important opener.
I would anticipate a similarly high intensity showing from the team as the players vie for a place in the starting line-up on June 14th.
There are probably three or four slots up for grabs; I hope the guys can make Clarke’s decision-making process an even more demanding one.