Breaking: Roy Keane has had 'informal chat' about Celtic job
MARTIN O'NEILL has confirmed that Roy Keane has been approached by Celtic about taking over as manager of the club.
The Corkman had been floated as a potential replacement for Neil Lennon, who resigned last week, but the story was dismissed by the FAI who are confident of keeping their man.
Keane said last week there had been no contact from his former club and was tired of the persistent speculation.
However, speaking at an Ireland training session at Lansdowne Road this evening, the Ireland manager confirmed that Celtic owner Dermot Desmond has approached him to gain permission to talk to Keane about the job.
"I'd be disappointed if he's gone but a club like Celtic is a very big club and these particular offers may not come around often," O'Neill said.
Asked if Keane has been offered the Celtic job, O'Neill said he thinks it has been "informal chat" so far.
The Ireland manager said he anticipated last year - when Keane signed a two-year deal to be his assistant -that the Corkman would be approached by various clubs, but added that he didn't expect it to happen so soon.
He added that he would be "really disappointed, of course, if Roy was to leave us"
O'Neill was also asked if he has any regrets about bringing in an assistant he could lose. "No regrets," he said, "He's not gone yet."
Keane had been due to take the conference this evening, but was not made available to media.
There are unconfirmed reports that Keane will decide within the next 24 hours whether or not to take the Celtic position.
The news that he is talking with Celtic will come as a major blow to Ireland fans, as the 'dream ticket' of Martin O'Neill and Keane have yet to take charge for a competitive game.
Bookmakers have reported strong interest in the 42-year-old in the Celtic market, thus resulting in his price dropping from a 16/1 outsider to evens favourite in the space of a few hours overnight.
Ireland boss Martin O'Neill has said that he would not stand in Keane's way if an offer materialised.
Henrik Larsson, the early bookies' favourite for the role, has ruled himself out of the running,.
Celtic chief Peter Lawwell has said that the SPL champions will take their time before deciding on the next course of action.