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title gone Former Celtic striker hooping a quick decision is made in Celtic manager hunt

Maloney telling club to act with urgency

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John Kennedy has taken charge of Celtic since the departure of Neil Lennon.

John Kennedy has taken charge of Celtic since the departure of Neil Lennon.

John Kennedy has taken charge of Celtic since the departure of Neil Lennon.

Former Celtic striker Shaun Maloney has urged the club to "act quickly" as they look to replace departed manager Neil Lennon, as the deafening silence from the Parkhead decision makers continues.

Caretaker boss John Kennedy takes charge of Celtic once again today as they aim to delay the long-since inevitable coronation of Steven Gerrard's Rangers as Scottish Premiership champions.

Victory at Dundee United would delay Rangers' moment of glory, but it could open up the prospect of Gerrard's side winning the title when they play the Hoops at Parkhead later this month.

That prospect sends a shiver of fear down the spines of Celtic fans and Maloney has suggested the first priority for the club's next manager has to be rebuilding the broken bond between a misfiring team and the fans.

Maloney has built a fine reputation as a coach working alongside Roberto Martinez with the Belgium national team and the duo have been linked with a possible link-up at Celtic.

Yet while the Scot insists he will not be drawn on the rumours linking him with a return to Parkhead, he has urged the Celtic board to act quickly to find Lennon's successor.

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Former Celtic striker Shaun Maloney.

Former Celtic striker Shaun Maloney.

Former Celtic striker Shaun Maloney.

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"From a sporting point of view, I hope Celtic, whatever decision they make, make it quickly because these decisions have to be made," declares Maloney.

"They can definitely fight for the title again next year and the big thing they have to do is get that connection with the support again because if that's not here, then they're not going to be able to fight."

Kennedy is the firm bookies favourite to land the role on a full-time basis, with ex-Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe and former Celtic and Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill also being linked with a return.

Yet Kennedy is hoping to lead the team through to the end of the season at least, with confirmation that the Scottish Cup will resume a boost to his hopes of guiding Celtic to a triumph at the end of a disastrous season.

The Scottish Cup was in doubt after being paused along with all football below the Championship in January amid a tightening of Covid-19 restrictions, with matches now set to be crammed into a condensed period with the Final at Hampden Park moved back to May 22nd.

"It is a trophy we have had great success in recent seasons and we are current holders," said Kennedy.

"It is great we get the opportunity, it gives us something else to attack in the season and look forward to.

And going into a Scottish Cup final at the end of the season is always a great feeling and a great motivation. Again if there is some sort of motivation for the season now it is very much our performances and results, but when there is silverware there to be played for that makes it all the better."

Setback

Kennedy also revealed James Forrest has returned to training again following a setback after ankle surgery.

The Scotland winger's last game was in a Europa League game against Riga last September.

  • Dundee Utd v Celtic, Scottish Premiership, today, 12.0pm, Live Sky

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