Neil Lennon resigned as Celtic manager on Wednesday and the Hoops confirmed that assistant manager John Kennedy would take interim charge until a permanent appointment was made.

However, Kieran Devlin of The Athletic says he would be ‘very surprised’ if he was chosen by the Hoops’ new Chief Executive and Director of Football as the permanent successor to his former boss.

In a Q&A for The Athletic, the journalist claimed: “Even if (Kennedy) does really well with Celtic, I’d be very surprised if he’s handed the job permanently. (I) think the new CEO and DoF when they come in will likely want to make a statement of intent.”

Celtic are second in the Premiership with 64 points from 30 games, 18 points adrift of Rangers (WhoScored). The Hoops were chasing a 10th consecutive league title this season but have fallen considerably short.

Kennedy now has to steer the ship in the right direction ahead of a title push in 2021/22. The 37-year-old came through Celtic’s academy and spent his professional career at Parkhead until he retired in 2009.

He returned to Celtic as a first team scout, coached the youth team after gaining his badges and was made first team coach before being promoted to assistant manager after Lennon replaced Brendan Rodgers in 2019. He is now in interim arge and is potentially auditioning to earn the job full-time.  

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Devlin’s argument has merit. Celtic have big names linked with the managerial vacancy and will want to make a statement for next season.

However, Kennedy could put himself in the running if the Hoops can finish the campaign strongly.