Tony Mowbray is set to be unveiled as Celtic's new manager next week after the club agreed to meet West Brom's compensation demands.
Celtic match West Brom's demands for Mowbray
Tony Mowbray is set to be unveiled as Celtic's new manager next week after the club agreed to meet West Brom's compensation demands. The West Brom chairman Jeremy Peace agreed to let Mowbray begin contract negotiations with Celtic after the Glasgow giants confirmed they would pay £2 million (Dh12.1m) for the former Hibernian boss. The Baggies will receive additional payment from Celtic should they also lose coaches Mark Venus and Peter Grant, the former Hoops player. Peace told www.wba.co.uk: "We do not want to lose Tony because he has been an integral part of a long-term project at the club which the vast majority of our fans have bought into.
"But Tony expressed his desire to talk to Celtic and now that the compensation figure in his contract has been met to our satisfaction that process can take place. "If Tony decides to join Celtic he would leave with our good wishes and we would then immediately put into action the task of appointing a new manager who can take the club forward." Celtic made Mowbray their preferred candidate to succeed Gordon Strachan, who resigned following the end of the season. Mark McGhee opted to join Aberdeen from Motherwell this week because he was informed the Hoops had made their choice, and he was out of contention to succeed his friend Strachan.
Providing there are no further hitches, and the deal goes through quickly, Mowbray will have a fortnight before preseason starts and he faces the first of possibly two tricky Champions League qualifiers at the end of July. The former Celtic striker Frank McGarvey believes Mowbray has to "hit the ground running" when he arrives in Glasgow.
McGarvey, who played for Celtic between 1980 and 1985, said that the former Hibs boss will have his work cut out in quickly assembling a side who can win back the Scottish Premier League title from Old Firm rivals Rangers and reach the lucrative group stages of the Champions League. "Tony wouldn't have been my first choice but I hope he does very well for Celtic and for himself," said former Scotland striker McGarvey. "He's a good guy but it is a big gamble by the Celtic board and not just because he's just had a team relegated. "The Champions League qualifiers are looming and most Celtic fans will agree with me when I say that the team is not good enough and needs to be strengthened. "Tony needs to bring in at least four players; two strikers to play with Scott McDonald, a midfielder who can create and a left-back. "The thing is, Celtic are not seeded in the Champions League qualifiers so are good players going to take a chance in coming to Parkhead?
"And are the board going to give Tony the wages to pay them if they do? "He's got all this to do in a month after he returns for preseason training, so he has to hit the ground running." Celtic would only confirm that talks with Mowbray are set to begin, with the chairman John Reid telling the club's official website: "We can confirm that we have reached an agreement in principle with West Bromwich Albion Football Club and have been given permission to speak to Tony Mowbray and his backroom staff. "These are complex but important negotiations and we can assure our supporters that we continue to aim to get the right man for the job in the right way." It is unlikely that any hitches in negotiations will arise and Mowbray should be unveiled before the Scottish media early next week. * PA Sport