THE major discussion this week had been about whether Eddie Howe is right to delay his decision on whether to take the Celtic job.

There are quite a few pundits saying that it is because he is waiting to see what other jobs will become available down south, that he is giving himself time to see if they, hopefully, arise in his favour. It is even a strong opinion now, that Celtic should withdraw any offer they have made to him because of how he is delaying the club’s process to get back on track and prepare for next season’s campaign. The new manager should be there before the end of this season as he needs to assess his squad and identify what positions need to be strengthened.

I personally agree that he is dwelling too long on giving Celtic an answer and if he really wants the job then I think he should be giving it before 3pm tomorrow. My reason for this is on the basis that if Celtic were to knock Rangers out of the Scottish Cup, then I think John Kennedy would put himself at the top of the applicants list for the managerial position.

This game could be like an audition for Kennedy and with his Celtic background as a player and coach, he has to be considered as an ideal candidate as he will clearly understand what is required at the top level in Scottish football. He has actually got a more experienced background at this stage than Steven Gerrard had when he came to Rangers and look what he has achieved in three seasons.

In terms of the match itself, I do think Kennedy has a great chance of promoting himself because I do believe Celtic could win this match. Obviously, there has been a massive gap this season in terms of the league record of both clubs but two factors need to be taken into consideration.

The league campaign has been really poor from Celtic, but when you consider that this group of players hasn’t altered much from that which had put together four consecutive domestic trebles you realise that their underachievement is not down to the quality that exists in their squad. I remember the media discussions during last season regarding how many Rangers players would actually get in the Celtic team and the number was never above two. This is an indication of the quality that Celtic have and when you consider that they have the likes of Ajer, Taylor, Brown, Forrest, Christie, McGregor, Turnbull, Edouard and Elyounoussi in their team how can they possibly be written off.

Secondly, if you think back to the game at Celtic Park last month, Celtic were the better team and should have won. Allan McGregor saved Rangers from defeat and I’m sure Celtic will go into this match with a relative degree of confidence because of that performance and also off the back of a very good victory last week against Livingston.

Old Firm games are always difficult to predict. Although I am saying that Celtic can win this game, I am certainly not writing off Rangers when you consider how strong they have been this season. The league campaign was obviously a priority but they also played really well in Europe too.

It will be interesting to see if the players also have the ambition to be double winners so this match will require them to have the right attitude and work rate. Now Alfredo Morelos has also finally got off the mark in scoring in an Old Firm match, he will certainly be a real threat to the Celtic defence.

This, allied to Rangers’ strong defensive capabilities, will certainly give their fans the belief that they can win this match and go on to have another celebration day in May. If they play to the high standard they have set in the league campaign then a victory is certainly achievable, but as I have suggested already, this is a massive game for both clubs and, especially for Kennedy.


I read this week that there is a Women’s International football team being entered in the Tokyo Olympics to represent Great Britain. This has come as a real surprise to me as during my time as chief executive of the SFA, I was involved in a few discussions we had with the other members of the UK’s four nations.

It had come to our attention in talks with Sepp Blatter, then FIFA president, that there was a strong movement among their members towards the home nations being characterised as Great Britain in terms of our involvement in the international game.

These members were insisting that because we compete as Great Britain in the Olympics, this should also be the case with the World Cup. Our decision was therefore to make a strong case for us competing as four separate nations. In order to substantiate this, we made it very clear that we did not recognise football in the Olympics as a credible football tournament and we would therefore not be entering a team.

So, for the UK football authorities to be entering a team to compete in the Olympics, I can only assume attitudes have changed among FIFA members. If not, the UK football authorities are presenting them with a strong case to renew their insistence that

Great Britain is one nation.