Rafa Benitez

“I’ve no idea, I wouldn’t have thought so,” stated interim manager Neil Lennon when asked, after Sunday’s Old Firm outing, whether the 2-0 defeat could have a bearing on his chances of landing the full-time management role.

However, it now appears that Lennon’s assessment may have been off the mark. Last week’s rumours of an imminent exit from Newcastle by Rafael Benitez had fuelled speculation that the Spaniard may be on his way to Celtic.

And with Skybet now having revised Rafa’s odds from yesterday afternoon’s quote of 13/8 to a price this evening of 5/6, it now appears that the bookmaker has become aware of some developments in the background which are likely to become the subject of tomorrow morning’s back pages.

Still Work To Do

Lennon, who was installed as interim manager in late February after the unexpected and sudden departure of Brendan Rodgers to Leicester City, had been – until Sunday’s result – the bookies’ odds-on favourite for a number of weeks.

However, with Celtic’s performances ebbing somewhat towards the tail-end of the season, and with names such as David Moyes and Rafael Benitez appearing on the horizon, focus began to turn to Sunday’s Old Firm Derby in what suddenly became a litmus test for Lennon’s ability to hold onto the job.

Whilst Celtic are but one victory away from a historic treble treble, the club is confronted with a number of challenges for the 2019/2020 season. Rangers have improved under Gerard and, if they can address their discipline issues on the pitch, are well positioned to make a serious challenge once again for the title.

Whoever is handed the role, however, will need to tackle the more urgent question of finding replacements for a number of players that are due to leave at the end of the season – Timo Weah appears to have already left the club whilst Cristian Gamboa’s contract is due to expire in the summer, with Emilio Izaguirre as yet to confirm if he will be extending his contract for a further year.