Having at one time looked like a mere formality it now appears there may be some doubts about Eddie Howe becoming the next Celtic manager.  

It was widely thought that Howe would have been announced last week but there has been an all too familiar silence from the board since then.

There could of course be procedural hold-ups and this would not be at all unusual particularly given the complicated management structure that the board are trying to put in place just now. 

It has been confirmed that incoming chief executive Dominic McKay will be taking his post up earlier than originally published and under PLC rules, all appointments of this nature have to be notified to the stock exchange.

With other posts such as director of football, general manager and head of recruitment all in the mix to be created and filled, and the fact that the board came under fire for the impulsive manner in which they appointed Neil Lennon, it is little wonder that they are taking their time with this one.  

Howe still looks the favourite for the post, with most bookies keeping him at the head of their markets but until the new manager is officially unveiled we cannot assume anything.  

Like Celtic, there are other clubs including some in the English Premier League who are planning for next season and one or two of them could well be trying to turn the head of the ex-Bournemouth manager.  

If he does end up going to a Crystal Palace or Newcastle and confirm that the height of his ambition is to remain in the comfort zone of just about keeping a mediocre club in the money-churning Premier League year after year, then to be honest Celtic will have had a lucky escape.  

The expectations at Celtic for next season will be to try and win every game that they play both domestically and in Europe, and perhaps that is the reason why Lucien Favre’s name has been put forward over the last week.  

The ex-Dortmund coach is now second favourite with the bookies to take the Parkhead hot-seat for next season and he is certainly an interesting addition to the conversation.

Favre is a vastly experienced European coach, with over 20 years in top-level management, mainly in his native Switzerland and in the German Bundesliga.  

He is known for his ability to develop and improve players under his tutelage and there is certainly an abundance of talent at Celtic which has not been used to its full potential over the last few years. 

Whether or not he is actually interested in the post is uncertain but he is definitely worth keeping any eye on over the next few weeks if Eddie Howe continues to delay in putting pen to paper.

It is interesting that John Kennedy’s odds have lengthened considerably over the last week as it was my understanding that he would only need to stay in the post on an interim basis until the end of the season to be in charge of enough games for the bookies to pay out on him. It suggests that they are of the opinion that the new man will come in before the end of the current campaign, which is something that most observers were discounting.

Kennedy will still feel he has a shot at the job long-term and in that respect he did his chances no harm at all with Celtic winning 6-0 at home to Livingston last weekend.  

The Hoops have struggled against Livi a few times this season so to put on such a convincing show was a massive statement.

They will hope to carry on that form into their Scottish Cup meeting with Sevco this weekend.  

The game was originally scheduled to take place at 4pm this Saturday but as that would have clashed with the British Royal funeral, the decision was taken to move the game. The teams will now line up at 3pm on Sunday.

Celtic have been the better of the two teams in their last two derby meetings, although they are still to register a victory against the Ibrox club this campaign.  

John Kennedy has been speaking in bullish terms about their chances of progression, going so far as to say that on their day his players are still the best team in Scotland.  

I see nothing wrong with that type of statement as it is obviously how he sees things and if he is able to transfer that positive outlook to his players then they will approach the derby next week in an optimistic fashion.

James Forrest's return from injury has had a major impact on Celtic's attacking options

James Forrest's return from injury has had a major impact on Celtic's attacking options

Hopefully James Forrest will be fit enough to take his place in the starting 11 as there is no doubt that his reintroduction into the team after a long period out injured has made a big difference to how they operate.  

Forrest is one of those players that a section of the Celtic support love to latch onto and heap criticism on without seeing just what he brings to them team.

This year, the Celts have lacked the real quality in wide areas that Forrest gives them. As a wide player, not everything that he tries will come off but his overall contribution to the team in terms of the balance he brings, as well as goals and assists make him a tremendous asset.  

He is bound to have had opportunities to move to a more lucrative league over the years but he has shown considerable loyalty to Celtic Football Club and we are incredibly lucky to have him.

The recent war of words between Kennedy and Steven Gerrard will add an extra dimension to this weekend’s game, not that it needs any additional spice. 

Kennedy quite rightly stated that when it came to punishments for Covid related breaches, Sevco were treated somewhat more tenderly by the SFA than his own club, and indeed other clubs in Scotland. 

Referring specifically to the fast-tracked match postponements Celtic and Aberdeen suffered earlier in the season for the Bolingoli and Aberdeen eight incidents, Kennedy contrasted this with the lack of urgency shown by the SFA in dealing with the Sevco breaches.

Having handed out six-match bans to the players, who were all caught bang to rights breaching Covid protocols over two months ago, the SFA then allowed the Ibrox club to launch completely groundless appeals which will not be heard until April 20.  

This delay has allowed one of the five, Nathan Patterson, to deputise at right back for the injured Sevco captain, Tavernier in this weekend’s derby.

Kennedy may not be Celtic manager material but the fact that he was strong enough to stand up for the club in front of a media who can see no wrongdoing in Sevco or Gerrard’s words and actions will have boosted many people’s opinion of him, including mine.  

A win in this weekend’s match will be a deserved feather in his cap no matter what the next steps in his career happen to be.