Sky Sports pundit Roy Keane has emerged as the leading contender to take over as Celtic manager.
Reports in Scotland suggest the former Ireland captain is now the frontrunner to succeed Neil Lennon. While Celtic are yet to comment on the rumours linking Keane with their managerial vacancy. The football rumour mill though is whirling with suggestions the former Celtic midfielder has held talks with the club. It means the prospect of Keane taking on Rangers boss Steven Gerrard in a heavyweight battle for the Scottish Premiership title next season may be edging closer.
There have been suggestions that Nicky Butt could join his former Manchester United’s team-mate as assistant manager.
Butt left his role as Manchester United head of first-team development to pursue “a new professional challenge”, with the chance to work alongside Keane at Celtic a possible next stop on his coaching journey.
While there may be some reservations about Keane’s potential management return 10 years after he left his role as Ipswich manager, Ireland and Manchester United legend Paul McGrath has told the Sunday World in Ireland that his former international team-mate is the perfect candidate to revive Celtic.
“If Roy gets the Celtic job, he would go into the club and shake a few things up, which is what they need given what we have seen with that team this year,” said McGrath.
“I feel he will have learned from what has happened in his management career so far, as shouting and screaming at modern day players just doesn’t work.
“He would be a good fit for Celtic. Seeing him competing with Steven Gerrard at Rangers would have us all watching Old Firm matches next season and I hope he gets the job.
‘Roy is not like that all the time’
“If he is allowed to get the right players in at a club he clearly loves, I’m sure the Celtic fans would warm to having him as their manager.
“The Roy Keane I know and like is not the man so many people believe him to be. I have always got on great with Roy. He is a funny guy, a genuine person and has always been great company as a team-mate and in the years since we both stopped playing.
“I think the Roy Keane we see on Sky Sports is very much a guy who has created a TV identity and he lives up to it with his comments, but don’t kid yourself and think Roy is like that all the time.”
Keane would give up a lucrative role with Sky Sports to take over at Celtic, but his eagerness to have another crack at club management means this is one of the few jobs in football that could lure him back.
Keane vs Gerrard in Old Firm matches next season? It is an enticing prospect and it may just be edging towards reality.