THERE will still be an awful lot of good football to look forward after the final whistle blows in the Scottish Cup final between Celtic and Inverness Caledonian Thistle at Hampden this evening.

The denouement of the Premiership play-off final between Partick Thistle, who hold a 2-0 lead from the first leg at Firhill on Thursday, and Ross County at the Global Energy Stadium tomorrow promises to be a cracker.

The UEFA Conference League decider between Fiorentina and West Ham in Prague on Wednesday night and the Champions League climax involving Inter Milan and Manchester City in Istanbul a week today should both make for compelling viewing.

Then you have Scotland, riding high on top of their Euro 2024 qualifying section after their rousing wins over Cyprus and Spain at Hampden back in March, taking on Norway away and then Georgia at home in their second Group A double header. 

Yes, fans have some way to go before they have to begin counting down the hours until the start of the 2023/24 season and wondering how on earth they are going to fill their Saturdays without their weekly dose of madness and mayhem.

READ MORECeltic vs Inverness: Herald & Times Scottish Cup final predictions

But if, as seems to be highly likely given the noises emanating from North London in recent days, Spurs do make a move for Ange Postecoglou next week and the Greek-Australian does decide to depart, there will be another pantomime to keep us all amused.

The hunt for the new Celtic manager is always hugely entertaining.

A list of contenders for the Parkhead position has already been drawn up and it includes some stellar candidates; Rafa Benitez, Slaven Bilic, Steve Clarke, Lucien Favre, Kjetil Knutsen, Enzo Maresca, Jesse Marsch, Davie Moyes, Graham Potter and even Brendan Rodgers have all been tipped to take over if Postecoglou goes.

It is always thus when Celtic, or Rangers for that matter, are looking to fill the void in their dugout. Supporters get excited about an exotic foreigner or a renowned name who has plied his trade at a high level coming in and taking them to new heights at home and abroad. Wild speculation on social media fuels the hysteria. 

The Herald:

On occasion, like when former Watford, Reading, Swansea City and Liverpool manager Rodgers was brought in amid scenes of mass rejoicing in the East End of Glasgow back in 2016, their prayers are answered.

Invariably, though, they are left disappointed. The standard of the Premiership puts many off. Even the prospect of playing in the Champions League group stages is not enough to tempt someone who has worked in the Bundesliga, La Liga or Serie A.

A club having to shell out big money for a big name and then bring in the players he wants for big fees is also a factor. 

Benitez has been linked with Celtic or Rangers on umpteen occasions over the years. When Neil Lennon was sacked by the former in 2021 he was touted as a replacement. But he had been on a £12m-a-year contract at Dalian Professional in China before that. It was about as realistic a prospect back then as Dundee landing Erling Haaland this summer to boost their top flight survival chances.

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Celtic will, if Postegolou goes, doubtless do their due diligence and consider all possibilities. Maybe they will, as was very much the case two years ago, stun onlookers and make a bold and leftfield successor. Perhaps their preferred target will be box office. But it will be no surprise if they opt for a far safer and much smarter choice.

John Kennedy stepping up from his role as assistant makes sense on many fronts for the Scottish champions.

He is an experienced and respected coach, he appreciates the demands which there will be on him and knows how to meet them, he has learned his trade under Lennon, Rodgers and Postecoglou, he has forged relationships with senior officials and understands how they operate, he is young, hungry and ambitious, he would be a long-term fixture.

Would the man who resisted the temptation to follow Rodgers to Leicester City, too, really be prepared to assist a new arrival again? His paymasters may be wary of losing an asset they have developed over many years. 

Scott Brown, their legendary former captain who took over at English League One outfit Fleetwood Town this time last year, was installed as the favourite for the vacancy that is not actually vacant yet by one bookie yesterday. He would be a popular choice in the stands.

But would the former Scotland midfielder really be ready to outfox Rangers in the Premiership and pit his wits against the cream of the continent in the Champions League just 12 months after hanging up his boots? It is too soon, way too soon, for Brown to be considered.

It would be a considerable challenge for Kennedy as well of course. Still, he is far better placed than his old colleague after serving such a lengthy apprenticeship. He would provide continuity and much-needed stability should Postecoglou go walkabout.