Celtic are one of the biggest football clubs in the UK. They have won the Scottish top division title 51 times among a host of other trophies. The club enjoyed their greatest successes during the 1960s and 1970s under manager Jock Stein when they won nine consecutive league titles and the European Cup. However, not every manager turned out to be a success for the club. In this article, let us have a look at some of the worst Celtic FC managers ever.
Considering the impact, consistency, win percentage, trophies etc, here are the 5 worst Celtic FC managers ever.
5. Tommy Burns
Tommy Burns is a Celtic legend, always was and always will be. However, it’s fascinating to analyse his time as manager of the club. In his first season, Celtic finished an embarrassing 4th place. In the cups, though, they ended their 6-year trophy drought with the Scottish Cup but losing the League Cup Final to Raith Rovers was shameful.
During the next two seasons, Celtic came close to winning the league but in vain. Too many draws illustrated the inconsistency of the Burns era. Some Celtic supporters would argue that while Tommy put his heart and soul into the job, his tactical naiveté and inability to solidify our defence was to his own downfall and he was sacked as a failure.
4. Liam Brady
Brady was a talented offensive midfielder but couldn’t replicate the success as a manager. He was appointed Celtic’s manager in 1991, having never managed before. Liam Brady was given the job straight through an interview process against little competition.
In his first season in-charge, Celtic finished third behind Rangers and Hearts. At Celtic, Brady failed to win a single trophy in his two-year tenure. He had a win percentage of 54, which was way less for Celtic’s standard.
Brady tendered his resignation following a league defeat v St Johnstone at Perth on 6 October 1993, which not surprisingly was accepted. He is remembered as one of the worst Celtic FC managers ever.
3. John Barnes
After hanging up his boots at the end of the 1998-99 season, Barnes decided to try his hands in management. He stunned the football world by being announced as the new boss of Scottish giants Celtic. However, rather than taking to the job like a duck to water, it quickly became clear that the former England man was miles out of his depth.
Barnes was fired after just 29 games in charge, with the final straw being a 1-3 loss at home in the Scottish Cup to part-timers Inverness Caledonian Thistle. It took him nearly a decade to find another job in management.
2. Tony Mowbray
Many Celtic fans consider Barnes as the worst Celtic manager ever. But upon looking at the stats, it shows Mowbray’s win percentage at the club (51 percent) is significantly lower than Barnes’ (65 percent).
During Mowbray’s spell in charge of Celtic, he won 0 trophies in his 9 months in charge. While Mowbray started off well but completely lost it and never won more than 3 SPL matches in a row. Not to mention his key, while not all, signings were awful and financially wreckless.
Mowbray’s football at times was very attractive and was the Celtic way. However, defeats to lesser oppositions and failing to win the big games led to his sacking.
1. Lou Macari
Macari has the worst win percentage among all the Celtic managers. He only won 12 of the 34 games he managed. Macari made several moves in the transfer market – none of them particularly successful.
Gerry Creaney, one of the few consistent goalscorers at Celtic at that time, was played out of position on the right-wing for several weeks before being sold to Portsmouth for £600,000. Striker Willie Falconer was signed from Sheffield United, right-back Lee Martin and goalkeeper Carl Muggleton came north from England, and in what is considered one of Macari’s poorest moves.
A miserable 4–2 defeat by Rangers in the New Year fixture at Parkhead left Celtic languishing in the league. An early Scottish Cup exit in January 1994 at Motherwell sealed another dismal season for Celtic. He was sacked months later.