6. Gordon Strachan (2005-2009)
Gordon Strachan succeeded Martin O’Neill as manager of Celtic in 2005. He had an embarrassing start to his campaign as Celtic manager, losing 5–0 to Slovakian champions Artmedia Bratislava on 27 July 2005 and three days later, drawing 4–4 with Motherwell in his first SPL match in charge of the Glasgow club. The loss against Artmedia meant Celtic suffered an early exit from European competition, despite winning the return match 4–0. After this disastrous start, Celtic started to improve under Strachan. A low-point was the shock defeat in the third round of the Scottish Cup to First Division Clyde on 8 January 2006. However, the following month his team made history when they defeated Dunfermline Athletic 8–1, a record victory margin for the SPL at the time.
Strachan’s first season was ultimately successful as he coached Celtic to victory in the League Cup and, on 5 April 2006, his side clinched the SPL title in record time and with six matches remaining. Reflecting this achievement, Strachan was voted Manager of the Year by the Scottish Football Writers’ Association eight days later.
He resigned on 25 May 2009, after 4 years in charge having won the League three times in a row, League Cup twice and Cup once.
5. Billy McNeill (1978-83 & 1987-1991)
Best known for captaining Celtic to the European Cup triumph in May 1967, Billy later went on to manage the club on two occasions.
He first became Celtic’s manager in 1978, taking over from the legendary Jock Stein. In his first season Celtic won the double of the League Championship and Scottish Cup in the club’s centenary year. His first year was eventful, a closely fought season saw the whole championship boil down to the last game of the season, where ‘Ten men won the league’. An incredible game saw Celtic playing Rangers with a man down, yet we came from behind to win the game and seal the league at the death.
Overall, he led the club to four league titles, three Cups and a League Cup in his two spells with the club. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest Celtic FC managers ever.
4. Neil Lennon (2010-2014 & 2019-present)
Lennon was appointed manager of Celtic in March 2010, initially in a caretaker capacity after the departure of Tony Mowbray. Lennon was appointed manager of Celtic on a full-time basis on 9 June 2010. He retained Mjällby as his assistant, as well as former Celtic teammate Alan Thompson and former Leicester City teammate Garry Parker as first-team coaches.
However, in his first full season in charge Lennon would galvanise the support by producing an entertaining and winning team. The campaign took a while to get going and after early disappointments in Europe the team took a little while to gel. But his signings – particularly Izaguirre, Hooper, Ledley and Kayal – were on the whole superb acquisitions and by the start of the new year the Bhoys were in impressive form.
Lennon enjoyed significant success as Celtic manager, winning three Scottish league championships, two Scottish Cups and qualifying for the group stage of the Champions League twice, before leaving the club in May 2014.
He once again returned to the Celtic Park as a manager in February replacing Brendan Rodgers. He led Celtic to further two successive league titles in 2018-19 and 2019-20 season.