Celtic confirm Roy Keane interest as race for new boss heats up

Republic of Ireland assistant coach Roy Keane (left)
Republic of Ireland assistant coach Roy Keane (left)

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell has confirmed the club are interested in appointing Roy Keane as their new boss.

But the Hoops chief says the Republic of Ireland assistant manager faces competition from as many as nine other rivals to be named Neil Lennon’s successor.

Ireland boss Martin O’Neill revealed on Thursday that the majority shareholder of the Scottish champions Dermot Desmond had held talks with his number two.

And now Lawwell has confirmed the 42-year-old former Manchester United skipper - who ended his playing career at Parkhead - is on a short list of candidates the Celtic board is now examining.

Asked how many names were in the frame, Lawwell told STV: “Between five and 10.

“We are looking at a number of exceptional candidates and we’re going through a process. Hopefully it won’t take too long.

“Clearly we want to do it as soon as we possibly can but these things you can’t put a time on.

“We have got a number of excellent candidates, Roy is one of them and we’ll see what happens in the next week or two.

“He’s played here, he’s a Celtic supporter, he’s a first class guy and like the others are, as I said we have between five and 10 candidates.

“You just have to do your work properly and hopefully we’ll get it done as soon as we can.

“As soon as we do that we will let our supporters know.

“You don’t want to get it wrong by going too fast, you need to take your time and make sure you get the right guy.”

Keane was on the training pitch with the Republic players in Malahide on Friday morning, and manager Martin O’Neill later revealed their had been no fresh developments overnight.

O’Neill said: “No, nothing else. There’s nothing else to tell you.”

He added with a smile: “There wasn’t anything really going to happen in the hour and a half since I last saw you, so nothing has happened.

“I don’t think anything is going to happen anyway until the weekend.”

O’Neill confirmed that Keane was due fly to London with the rest of the party on Friday afternoon, ahead of Saturday evening’s friendly against Italy at Craven Cottage.

Meanwhile, Celtic defenders Emilio Izaguirre and Mikael Lustig have both signed new three-year contracts, the Scottish champions have announced.

Honduras international Izaguirre – who will represent his country at this summer’s World Cup in Brazil – signed for the Parkhead outfit from Motagua in his homeland in August 2010.

The 28-year-old, named Scotland’s player of the year following his debut season, has penned a new agreement tying him to the club until 2017, while Swedish cap Lustig has also agreed a similar deal.

The former Rosenberg full-back moved to Parkhead in January 2012 and he told the official Celtic website: “I am absolutely delighted to sign this new contract with the club. Ever since I came to Celtic I have felt welcomed and I have enjoyed every minute of my time here.

“It has been brilliant to win trophies here and I hope we can go again next season and bring more silverware to Celtic and achieve one of our main objectives in the next few months and take Celtic to the Champions League again.

“It is, of course, disappointing that Neil has left the Club as manager and obviously all the players wish him all the best for the future.”