Eddie Howe: 'Deep thinker' perfect for Celtic - former Bournemouth captain Tommy Elphick

By Phil GoodladBBC Scotland
Tommy Elphick went from League One to the top flight as Bournemouth captain during Eddie Howe's tenure
Tommy Elphick went from League One to the top flight as Bournemouth captain during Eddie Howe's tenure

Celtic's prospective new manager Eddie Howe is a "deep thinker" who believes "performance always outweighs the result", says former Bournemouth skipper Tommy Elphick.

Talks between Celtic and Howe, 43, are at an advanced stage as the Glasgow club seek a successor to Neil Lennon.

Elphick, who captained Bournemouth from English League One to the top flight under Howe, backed his old manager as the perfect fit.

"He's very meticulous," said Elphick.

"He's detailed in his work and spends a lot of time getting to know his players.

"At Bournemouth he really tapped into the history of the club, made us proud to wear the shirt, and got us playing in a way that resonated with the fans.

"He'll tap into the big history of Celtic and his style of play will really suit. It's exciting, fast paced, we always went to win the game whether it was against Man City in the Premier League or Oldham in League One."

Having spent more than a decade in charge of Bournemouth across two spells, Howe is closing on a return to management to replace Lennon, who left five weeks ago.

Celtic's bid for a 10th successive title ended in failure this season, with Rangers crowned champions last month, while the Parkhead club's run of 12 successive trophies was halted by Ross County in the Scottish League Cup and they exited the Champions League in the qualifiers.

Howe attracted praise for his transformation of Bournemouth before leaving last summer after the club's relegation from the Premier League.

And Elphick says the foundations of his success was sticking to his philosophy.

"The biggest message we were given was that the performance would always outweigh the result," said the current Huddersfield Town defender. "If the performances were there, the results would follow.

"Sometimes we would suffer for that but we stuck to our principles. He was very strong on our morals and what we stood for as a group.

"With all due respect to Bournemouth, Celtic is a completely different kettle of fish, but when he came into the club in November we were in the bottom four of League One and he got us up that season."

Elphick sounded a need for patience from Celtic fans if Howe is appointed, but is confident he will not be bowed by the expectation of silverware.

"When we were in League One we were under pressure to get promoted, when we then got to the higher end of the Championship there was pressure to get to the Premier League," he added.

"There will be a period of rebuilding, so it may take six months, a year, or longer.

"If the fans can do that and allow that time, I'm sure it will be a huge success."

Jason Tindall, Howe's former assistant at Bournemouth, says if his ex-boss moved to Celtic they would be getting a "great manager who works hard and is dedicated to his job".

Speaking to Radio 5 Live's Friday Football Social, Tindall said: "His work ethic, you ask anyone, is his biggest strength. He leaves no stone unturned. He works all the hours needed to be successful."

'He finished my Burnley career, but is a fantastic boss'

Motherwell manager Graham Alexander was released as a player by Howe at Burnley, but is convinced he will do a "fantastic job" at Celtic or elsewhere.

Alexander struggled for game time in his six months in the Championship under Howe, who is six years his junior, before returning to Preston.

"He finished my career at Burnley, but he is a fantastic manager," the 49-year-old said.

"I was fighting to be in that team, I was the club captain, but he had plans to change the team. And it needed changing.

"I only had an understanding of what he was going through when I became a manager myself.

"But you could see the quality he had and he has proved that at Bournemouth right through the divisions. Whichever club he goes on to manage, he will do a fantastic job."

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