Mowbray confident despite cash constraints
New Celtic manager Tony Mowbray is confident the cash constraints affecting Scottish football won't stop him from moulding a successful side in his first season at Parkhead.
The 45-year-old former West Bromwich Albion boss has vowed to wow Celtic supporters next season by creating a team capable of domestic dominance and also able to compete in the UEFA Champions League. Mowbray will take stock before making changes to the squad he has inherited from Gordon Strachan, but, although he knows money is tight at Parkhead, he is determined to build a team in his own image.
He must replace Japan midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura, who is leaving after four years in Glasgow, and find a striker capable of scoring consistently against the best teams in Scotland and Europe. "I've just come from a club that ran a tight business model and I'm coming to one that also runs a sound ship," he said after being officially unveiled on Wednesday. "I have an understanding of the budget and how to work it and I'm looking forward to that challenge.
"I don't want to say, 'We need this and that position on the pitch'. That would be disrespectful to the players at the club. I went to West Brom and after two and a half years there was only two players (that I inherited) left. I am not coming here with a huge axe to swing but there is a natural evolution of any football team.
"The team is what it is at the moment. We have some very good, experienced and talented footballers at this club. We should be very respectful of their talents. We need to gel this team together, but it will take time. I want Celtic to be feared in Scotland and be able to compete in Europe too."
While he received plaudits for his football with West Brom, last season ultimately ended in failure when the club were relegated after just one year in the Premier League. But Mowbray, who will taste European football for the first time as a manager with Celtic, is confident he has learned from his experience.
"It had come to a point that I had a decision to make and an opportunity arose for me to explore the Celtic opportunity," he said. "Being involved in European football is an exciting challenge for me. Working in the Premier League last season gave me an understanding of what it takes to compete at the top level.
"I sat in offices after games with some of the best managers in the world and discussed the finer details of football and how they set their teams up. It was a big learning curve and hopefully I can use that with Celtic. We have only six weeks left until the first Champions League qualifier. But many of the players have experience and I will use that and then hopefully we can build on that."
Mowbray, who enjoyed a four-year playing career at Celtic in the early 1990s, is no stranger to managing in the SPL after a two-year stint with Hibernian. He helped the Edinburgh club to two top-four finishes but knows expectations will be far higher this time around.
"I have total respect for Hibernian. I had a fabulous time there. It was a great opportunity for me but there are different ambitions at this club and different expectations of the support," he added. "It's great to be back at Celtic. I am elated, honoured and deeply proud to be the manager. I will give honesty, integrity and respect and I will bring that to the football team."