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Mowbray was Celtic answer to Rangers flop Le Guen

COMMENT: Tony Mowbray has proved to be Celtic's answer to Paul Le Guen. Like former Rangers boss Le Guen, Mowbray ignored local SPL talent to bring in players from outside of Scotland - and like the Frenchman he paid the price for such a transfer policy.

For any Old Firm manager, Le Guen's mistakes should have been a one-off. He signed over a dozen non-Scottish players, with no experience of the SPL and lasted barely six months at Ibrox.

Mowbray did similar, except he also cleared out over an entire first-choice XI in his desperate bid to stamp his own authority on the squad he had inherited.

Gary Caldwell, part of the clearout and now with Wigan Athletic, was right today when telling the Sunday Herald, it was too much too soon. But Mowbray also made the mistake of ignoring how Walter Smith was able to get Rangers back on track after Le Guen's foreign disaster.

The likes of Kenny Miller, Steven Naismith, Steven Whittaker and Davie Weir were all brought in by Smith and quickly the Gers ship was back on course.

For the next Celtic manager, whether it be the green Neil Lennon or someone in the mould of Mark Hughes, taking a leaf out of Smith's management manual has to be the first step.

The pay-out that will go to Mowbray and his backroom team is likely to prevent Peter Lawwell from bringing Hughes to Celtic. But the former Manchester City manager would be the ideal choice.

Working to a shoe-string budget at Blackburn Rovers, he uncovered and improved players of the calibre of Christopher Samba, Ryan Nelsen and Craig Bellamy. Even at City, with unlimited funds, Hughes recognised the need to buy local - and that has paid off with Bellamy, Carlos Tevez and Shay Given proving to be the club's standouts this season.

That ability to work both ends of the transfer market has to set Hughes apart from any of the other candidates that will come across Lawwell's desk in the approaching weeks.

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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