SOME years ago, I had the privilege of seeing John Kennedy at work at Barrowfield with a group of kids, and I could tell right there and then he would go on to be a great asset to Celtic as a coach.

Even so, he has surpassed probably even my high expectations of him with the impact he has had at the club in the years since, so much so that he is now Neil Lennon’s right-hand man.

It was therefore no surprise to me whatsoever that other people would have taken notice of what he was doing at Celtic, and as is always the case in football, there will be other clubs hoping to lure your best talent away.

READ MORE: Davie Hay: Celtic will have revenge on their minds as they look to bust Livingston hoodoo

This time, despite concrete interest from Hibernian in taking John as their manager, he will stay at Celtic following the appointment of Jack Ross as the man in charge at Easter Road. For me though, it is only a matter of time before John Kennedy is a manager in his own right, whether that be at Celtic or elsewhere.

I have no doubt that he has what it takes to be the Celtic manager one day, and Neil Lennon as well as one or two players recently have been singing his praises. The trouble for John is that Neil Lennon doesn’t look like he will be going anywhere for a good long while yet.

Luckily, he is a young man at just 36, so time is very much on his side. If he stays where he is, then there is every chance that when the time eventually comes for Neil Lennon to move on for whatever reason, he will be the man who assumes the mantle.

Given how close the Celtic coaching team seem to be, as well as the success they are currently having as a unit, that would certainly seem like the natural move to allow the continuation of that winning formula.

You can’t underestimate the roles that Damien Duff and Stevie Woods play in that too, because they are clearly playing an integral part in the development of this Celtic squad too. You only have to listen to Fraser Forster waxing lyrical about Woods, for example, to know that the blend Celtic have behind the scenes at the moment is one that the players are thriving under.

It will be a shame for the club when that eventually breaks up, but the only question is whether or not John sees himself as a number one before Neil is ready to hand over the reins. Some people may say he is very young to be taking on a role of such magnitude at present, or any managerial role for that matter, but I was 33 when I took over as manager of Motherwell and then I was Celtic manager less than two years later.

READ MORE: Davie Hay: I can’t see Celtic captain Scott Brown making Scotland return

When you look at it like that, he may see fit to soon continue his journey elsewhere, cutting his teeth at another club as his own man, while having an eye on returning to assume the Celtic hotseat one day in the future.

A lot will depend of course on what offers come his way. I don’t know how far down the line Hibs took their interest in John, but they are a massive club and it would be hugely difficult to grudge him a move to a similar level if it meant he had a chance to be a manager in his own right.

They certainly won’t have been the only ones to have noticed his talents, and I thought the fact Neil Lennon didn’t play down the chances of John being interested in a management job was telling. Should another job of similar standing come up, then I have no doubt that his name will be in the reckoning once again.

For the moment though, Celtic should savour having this coaching staff in place, because they certainly seem to be getting the best out of the players.

It is testament to John Kennedy’s abilities as a coach and his qualities as a man that a succession of managers have seen fit to have him working so closely with the Celtic players. He has been part of the backroom staff under Ronny Deila, Brendan Rodgers, and now Neil Lennon, and that shows just how much the club as a whole values his contribution to the cause.

I fully expect that he will become Celtic manager one day, the only question being whether or not the club will be able to benefit from having him around in the meantime.

I certainly hope so.