Saturday 26 May 2018

Celtic legend backs Roy Keane to take over at Parkhead

Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane. National Sports Campus, Abbotstown, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane. National Sports Campus, Abbotstown, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Former Celtic striker Charlie Nicholas has called on Parkhead officials to appoint Roy Keane as the club's next manager, following confirmation that current boss Ronny Deila will step down at the end of this season.

Deila has come under increasing pressure in recent weeks, with Sunday's Scottish Cup defeat against arch rivals Rangers proving to be the breaking point for the Norwegian tactician.

Former Celtic manager Neil Lennon has expressed an interest in a return to the post, while ex-Everton and Manchester United boss David Moyes has also been mentioned as a strong contender.

Yet it is the name of current Republic of Ireland assistant manager Keane that has quickly risen to the top of the list of most likely contenders, with the Irishman known to have admirers at Celtic after the Glasgow giants came close to appointing him as boss ahead of Deila in May 2014.

Now former Celtic midfielder Keane has received the backing of Parkhead fans' favourite Nicholas, who offered these views to Sky Sports.

"I would like Roy Keane to get it because I think he would sort a lot of people out," stated Nicholas, on a day when Keane hinted he is ready to make a return to full-time management.

"He would clear the decks. I am not saying he would be the greatest tactician, but I think he would bring a different drive and a different energy to the club.

"He would be the type I'd be looking at to take on people, give him the responsibility and let him get on with it.

"He would be my ideal choice, I think there are others out there, but I am not convinced the owner or chief executive will step aside and say this is the way it has got to be because there's an issue with the club's budget."

Nicholas went on to suggest the timing of Deila's announcement that he will step down as Celtic boss is poor, as he suggested it could derail the club's hopes of lifting the Scottish title.

"I think the timing is awful," Nicholas added. "I think to say it is more about the club than him, that will backfire on him today, I think it is about him because he is the one that has made the statement.

"This is like Manuel Pellegrini when he announced he was leaving. I said at the time there's a certain aspect of what you keep in house. Celtic are going for the title and Ronny has suffered along with the board and the people who run the club who are not doing their job right at the minute.

"It is a club that has gone stale. For Ronny to announce this now, it will not please a lot of people, they expected it, but you keep it in house.

"You get the title wrapped up, then the business is done and you say well done, congratulations and good luck in the future. But if they were to slip up this weekend and Aberdeen catch them, it would be an absolute mess, complete mayhem.

"It will still be about Ronny Deila because he is the story today."

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