IT was another day of disappointment for Celtic and their supporters at Ibrox on Sunday, as they crashed out of the Scottish Cup to Rangers and saw their hopes of ending this season with silverware evaporate.

The onlooking Dominic McKay officially took up his position as CEO of the club on Monday morning, and what he witnessed would have acted as a sobering reminder of the task that lies in wait over the coming months as he attempts to rebuild Celtic from the ground up.

Here are five talking points from the game, and what McKay and the rest of the Celtic hierarchy have on their to-do list in order to arrest their slide towards mediocrity.


It has now been two months since Neil Lennon was sacked as Celtic manager, and yet his assistant John Kennedy is still holding down the fort.

The 38-year-old has done a decent job overall and may well be Celtic manager material in the future, but with fans crying out for a big name appointment to take the fight to Rangers once more next season, his time is not now.

Celtic may still be keen to bring Eddie Howe to the club, and he may very well fit the profile of a modern, forward-thinking head coach that the supporters crave, but how much longer can Celtic wait for the Englishman to make up his mind?

It has now been two weeks since Howe met with Celtic’s principal shareholder Dermot Desmond in London, and yet he has not given the club an answer on whether or not he wants to take up the role.

Given the magnitude of the job that requires to be done over the summer, Celtic’s patience must be wearing thin. They need their manager in the door as soon as possible, and if Howe is reticent, then they must take the decision out of his hands soon and look elsewhere.


Following on from the point above, McKay must have recognised yesterday that the woeful recruitment that took place last summer was the key driver behind the nightmare season that Celtic have had.

In wide areas, Celtic had full-backs on loan from AC Milan and Everton respectively, but both of them looked petrified to cross the half-way line.

Diego Laxalt’s performance was reminiscent of a slightly hungover Sunday league footballer, and he was given such a torrid time by Rangers attacker Joe Aribo that he was hooked at half-time.

Along with Jonjoe Kenny, these were the men charged with providing the width for Celtic going forward, as a failure to address the absence of James Forrest and Mikey Johnston left Kennedy without a winger worthy of the name.

Of the expensive summer signings, only David Turnbull started, while Albian Ajeti came off the bench with a few minutes remaining. Celtic simply cannot afford a summer of such egregious waste this time around.

Celtic remain keen on bringing in Manchester City Partnerships Manager Fergal Harkin for the Director of Football position, and his arrival at the club – or someone else of suitable experience – is just as vital as the man who eventually fills the dugout.


Brown has been a wonderful servant for Celtic over the past 14 years, and will leave as one of the most decorated players in the club’s history when he departs for Pittodrie this summer.

He will not however get the swansong he so craved by signing off with the seventh Scottish Cup win of his Celtic career, and there were moments in the match on Sunday when he looked every one of his 35 years.

The turn that Ryan Kent foxed him with in the build-up to Rangers first goal was a case in point, with Brown left stranded having gambled on the attacker going the other way, an attempt perhaps to compensate for his lack of pace.

The same player turned him again with ease on the edge of the Celtic area in the second half to get a shot away, and again, it was all too simple.

Brown is still a very good Premiership level player, and one of the best midfielders in the division despite his age. For Celtic to replace Brown will be a tall order, but to get back to the standards they set in previous years, an upgrade on the Brown of this season will be necessary.


It is hard to believe that the Odsonne Edouard, Ryan Christie and even Callum McGregor of this season are the same players who played such a pivotal role in Celtic’s quadruple treble success over the last four years.

The departure of the first two players listed may be a foregone conclusion this summer, and perhaps even McGregor may seek a fresh challenge to get his juices flowing again. Then again, perhaps not.

In the same way that the arrival of Brendan Rodgers got the most out of these men among others, particularly James Forrest who seemed a certainty to leave Celtic that summer, a new coach may feel he can get a tune out of these undoubted talents and re-energise them in the Hoops.

At the moment, they are all playing well below their capabilities, and Celtic’s new manager may be able to save some money by sparking them back to life.


Another player whose head has appeared to be elsewhere this season is defender Ajer, who has all the attributes to succeed as a top level centre half – save perhaps for one.

The Norwegian lacks the aggression required to dominate his opponents in the way that he should, particularly in an aerial sense, with his reluctance to take charge of the area and go and head the ball a key factor in Celtic’s weakness from set-plays this year.

He may only have turned 23 on Saturday, but a player with his match experience must also be more able to sense danger and take the responsibility of snuffing it out. When Aribo broke away down the right on Sunday for Rangers’ second goal, the centre-back was the closest to him, but abdicated responsibility back onto the desperately retreating Laxalt. The Uruguayan made a hash of his tackle, Ajer did next to nothing, and seconds later the ball was in the net.

If he is to get the big move he craves, he must improve on both counts if he is ever to become the player he perhaps thinks he already is.