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John Kennedy: 'Time for Celtic to rebuild'

John Kennedy: 'Time for Celtic to rebuild'
© Reuters
The Hoops are set for a summer of change

Interim boss John Kennedy believes Celtic may have come to the end of an era after they ended a dismal season with a goalless draw against Hibernian at Easter Road.

The Parkhead club's bid to win a 10th successive Premiership title was ended by Old Firm rivals Rangers and they ultimately finished the campaign 25 points behind the new champions, who went all 38 league games unbeaten.

Saturday's match was skipper Scott Brown's last game for the Hoops before joining Aberdeen as a player/assistant and others are likely to follow him out of the club.

Kennedy said: "For me it almost feels like the end of an era.

"I have been here through some really good times, successful times when we have been on the crest of a wave.

"This year unfortunately it has not worked out as we would have wished.

"The club captain is leaving, there will be changes in management and at board level.

"There will be a number of players leaving, loan players or whatever it might be.

"It is almost like we draw a line now. You look back and you reflect on what we have achieved over the years.

"You draw that line then it is time to rebuild and then you move on."

Kennedy, who has been in charge since Neil Lennon resigned in February, is confident of a quick turnaround in fortunes.

The former Celtic defender said: "People look at things in isolation, judge purely on things like points totals. Ultimately football can change very quickly.

"We could have picked up more points in different games this season if things had fallen for us.

"We weren't quite in our groove, but I have been here long enough to know how football operates.

"You go into next season, start positively and it can take you anywhere.

"That is the ultimate goal for the club – stabilise, get everybody in place we need to get in place, get a good squad and go out and become champions again."

Kennedy paid tribute to Brown, who had 14 largely-successful seasons at Celtic after signing from Hibs in 2007.

He said: "We always talk about replacing him, but you don't replace Scott Brown, there are very few in the world like him nowadays in terms of the mentality and the drive every day.

"You see it, the fans see it on match day, we see it every single day.

"That's the way he is. The way he plays is the way he trains every day.

"He came in as a young player, developed into a fine captain, proper leader. Whether mangers have changed or players have changed, he has always been at the front pulling everyone along.

"That has been a huge part of the club's success."

Hibs had already sealed third spot in the league and, with one eye on the Scottish Cup final against St Johnstone next week, manager Jack Ross started the game with a second-string side.

He said: "It was fitting to finish the season that way because we had so many players involved who haven't played regularly.

"With their contribution on the training pitch and the standards they've helped us to keep, it has helped us have a successful season.

"We had to be resilient and work incredibly hard today, but I'm really pleased they got a reward from the game and got a point.

"We are fit and healthy with the numbers we've got. There's a positive feeling around that dressing room that we've got to produce next weekend. But in our frame of mind we're in the best possible place."

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