Tony Mowbray leaves Celtic
Tony Mowbray's reign as Celtic manager is over. A humiliating defeat to St Mirren was the final blow for the boss.
Tony Mowbray has left his job as manager of Celtic. Mowbray's future was thrown into doubt after the Parkhead side fell to their first league defeat in Paisley in 21 years with a 4-0 defeat against St Mirren on Wednesday night.
It is still unclear whether Mowbray has decided to resign or whether he has been sacked by Celtic, with a formal statement expected from the club shortly. Former Celtic captain Neil Lennon has been asked to take over as caretaker manager until the end of the season.
Mowbray, who became Celtic boss on June 16 2009 in place of Gordon Strachan, has presided over a woeful season in charge. Of his 45 matches, his team have lost 13, with defeats to Dinamo Moscow, Arsenal, Hapoel Tel-Aviv, Rangers, Hamburg, Hearts, Dundee United, Hibs, Kilmarnock and, finally, St Mirren.
Mark Venus' and Peter Grant's respective futures at the club are also likely to be under scrutiny, with the assistant manager and first team coach having both joined Celtic to work with Mowbray.
The ex-Hibernian and West Bromwich Albion manager took over at Parkhead last summer and was charged with rebuilding a side to challenge Rangers for domestic supremacy. Mowbray warned that it would take time to implement changes to the side but, with Celtic trailing their Glasgow rivals by 10 points in the SPL table, the heavy defeat to St Mirren was the final blow for the under-pressure manager.
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Mowbray took responsibility for Celtic's thumping loss to St Mirren in the immediate aftermath and conceded that his decisions had put pressure on his inexperienced defence. However, the manager refused to accept that his position was under threat.
Despite that, the writing was on the wall for the under-pressure boss after Celtic's heaviest domestic defeat outwith an Old Firm game for almost 30 years.
In the Scottish Premier League, Celtic have a worse away defensive record than eight clubs, having conceded 24 on their travels - the same amount as St Mirren.
A total of seven SPL defeats from 30 games have allowed an under-strength Rangers squad to run away with the league title. Walter Smith's team currently hold a 10 point gap on their Glasgow rivals, having played two games less.
Under Mowbray, Celtic failed to qualify for the Champions League, although defeat to Arsenal was seen by none as unacceptable. Their subsequent performance in the Europa League left many fans openly questioning their manager, with defeats to Hapoel Tel-Aviv and Hamburg and a failure to win all but one of their six matches knocking them out of Europe before Christmas.
They also exited the Co-operative Insurance Cup at the quarter final stage, losing 1-0 at home to Hearts. With Rangers’ lead in the SPL unassailable, the Parkhead club are left with the Scottish Cup as its only chance of silverware this season.
Mowbray’s successor could be asked to deliver instant success in the knockout competition, with First Division Ross County standing in the way of a place in the final.