John Kennedy not viewing interim role as Celtic audition

Celtic interim boss John Kennedy focusing only on the here and now
Celtic interim boss John Kennedy focusing only on the here and now (PA Wire)
14:56pm, Fri 26 Feb 2021
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John Kennedy insists he does not see his new role as Celtic interim boss as an audition for the job on a permanent basis.

Kennedy stepped up from assistant after Neil Lennon resigned on Wednesday with the reigning champions 18 points behind Rangers at the top of the Scottish Premiership and with the quest for a record-breaking 10 successive titles in tatters.

Ahead of the visit of Aberdeen on Saturday, Kennedy confirmed ex-Hoops captain Stephen McManus had moved up from reserve team coach to join his first team coaching staff but denied he was viewing his own brief as a trial period.

“No, not at all,” he said. “This has never been about me.

“I am a guy who has been here a long time in several positions, always applied myself and given everything I possibly can and I have no interest in looking beyond this period of time in terms of what is in store for me.

“It doesn’t matter to me at the moment, the only thing that matters to me is doing the right thing for the club.”

Asked if he would be interested in the job on a permanent basis, the former Celtic defender said: “I am not interested in anything other than Saturday and then next week. The club will look at it themselves.

“It is not about me, it is not about me and my future and where do I see myself.

“This is my first half-opportunity if you call it that to take charge but this isn’t about me, it’s about everybody collectively doing their jobs.

“I will come in, I will still coach and work as hard as I can and at the same time give the guidance from the front and then deal with each day as it comes.

“I know the players very well, I have a great relationship with them and the staff and I just want to guide them through this period with all their help to maximise what is left (of the season) and try to get us back to what I know we can be.

“Naturally with bad results and pressure there can be a cloud on the training ground sometimes.

“I will try to lift that and let the sun come through the best we can but to do that we have to recognise what is important and that is everyone pulling together in a difficult period and that is what we will try to do.”

Kennedy admits the pressure to get 10 in a row might have contributed to a tumultuous season which has also seen Celtic knocked out of the Champions League qualifiers, the Europa League and the Betfred Cup.

He said: “Looking back at it now it could be one the reasons. It is one you will probably never know the answer to.

“At a club like this there is always pressure. I think with the 10 thing it got hyped and there was greater pressure.

“When you get over emotional you make bad decisions and I think we have seen that in games and in some performances where there was too much emotion involved.

“It has been a very emotional season. Even before the season started you could feel the intensity and probably over the last couple of seasons, all you could hear was 10, 10, 10.

“Ultimately, that was the objective, to win the league and make it 10 but we have just got to park that, strip it back, get clarity, play with clear minds and understand what makes us good and try to do that.”

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