Why Celtic can't hire Henrik Larsson

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Hiring Henrik Larsson would be a regressive move by Celtic chief Peter Lawwell.

Celtic's Scottish Cup semi-final defeat proved two things: 1) the gap between both Old Firm sides is nowhere near as wide as many Celtic fans thought and 2) Rangers, under Mark Warburton, look hungry to make up for lost time - very hungry, in fact.

With that in mind, it is vitally important that Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell gets it spot-on when replacing manager Ronny Deila - and Henrik Larsson isn't the answer.

Stilian Petrov, his former team-mate at Parkhead, says Larsson is the answer, telling the Daily Record last week: “I hope Henrik is the man. I would love to see him in charge of Celtic. It would be a good challenge for Henrik and an honour for him too."

If Deila's successor takes the role believing it to be a "challenge" then perhaps he is already the wrong man for the job. His replacement should be a man supremely confident that he can keep Celtic top of the pile amid a resurgent Rangers - and he should have the CV to support his confidence.

Does Larsson's CV inspire such confidence? Would he even be considered if he wasn't such an iconic figure in Celtic's history? The Swede, now at Helsingborgs, led the club to an eighth-placed finish in the 16-team league last season. The season before that, his Falkenberg side finished within a point of relegation. Even Deila had a Norwegian top-flight league title under his belt when he took the Celtic job.

Lawwell, whose history with managerial appointments is hit and miss at best, must not let sentiment or romance infuence him in the selection process. He has once before, when he tried to replace Neil Lennon with Larsson in 2014, only to be rejected.

The 44-year-old does have two years more experience now, but hiring him is still a massive gamble - another one - and Rangers' return means the stakes are much higher now than they were in 2014. The current landscape makes it so much tougher to justify hiring Larsson over any one of the other names linked with the role: Moyes, Keane, Lambert, O'Neill, Di Matteo, Lennon, Mackay.

The return of Larsson - still affectionately known as the King of Kings in these parts - would undoubtedly restore a feel-good factor, but for how long? Such a novelty would wear off very quickly if Rangers are winning every weekend and Celtic aren't.

Lawwell has a lot of making up to do after Deila didn't work out, but hiring Larsson would be yet another step in the wrong direction. He would fill the stadium, not the trophy cabinet, and Lawwell must decide which is more important.

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