The Celtic story of John Kennedy is one of triumph over adversity even if, as Celtic entered the 2020s on a wave of success, he was still young enough to be possibly playing the game he had to give up over a decade earlier at the age of just 26-years-old.
Even that final admittance came five-and-a-half years after the dreadful tackle by Ionel Ganea when Scotland hosted Romania for a friendly on March 31, 2004.
Sadly, that was John Kennedy’s first and last Scotland cap in an international career that barely lasted quarter-of-an-hour when the young centre-half looked destined to have a prolific Celtic career at his feet.
It all began in fairy-tale fashion when Kennedy was handed his Celtic debut by Hoops legend, Kenny Dalglish in April 2000 and, at 16 years and 231 days old, he immediately became the youngster ever Celtic first-team player at that point
That was the first of 26 first-team games he played for the Hoops before his injury in the dark blue of Scotland – 19 of those appearances coming in season 2003/04 as he broke into the Celtic first-team as a regular and got the call for the national squad.
Years of rehabilitation followed, with several operations in the United States by noted sports surgeon, Richard Steadman, and the player finally made a comeback in April 2007 after returning to training at the start of that season.
He couldn’t have picked a better game to return as Celtic lifted the title that day with a 2-1 win over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park. It proved to be a false dawn, though, as after 17 comeback games and a loan spell at Norwich City, he had to call it a day and announced his retirement in November 2009.
After taking his coaching badges, he quickly moved up through the ranks from youth coach, to reserve coach to first-team coach.
In 2010, Kennedy became a first-team scout at Celtic, though, and after taking his coaching badges, the former defender moved up through the ranks from youth coach, to reserve coach to first-team coach under Ronny Deila.
That role continued under Brendan Rodgers, before promotion to assistant manager under Neil Lennon in February 2019, where he has been an invaluable part of the ongoing success the club has enjoyed.
Date of Birth
18 August 1983
Became Asst Manager
Signed For Celtic
Joined as a Celtic S Form in 1999
4-0 v Motherwell (H) on 5 April 2000
"The club have asked me to step in for the moment and take charge of the team which I’m more than happy to do."