Tuesday 16 January 2018

Roy Keane links to vacant Celtic job not a concern, insists O'Neill

Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane
Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

MARTIN O'NEILL anticipates that Roy Keane's name will be thrown into the mix in the speculation about a new Celtic manager but fully expects his assistant to be in the Ireland dugout come September.

The Derry man thinks that Henrik Larsson, who starred for him during his stint as Celtic boss, is the perfect fit to take the job vacated by Neil Lennon.

However, he wasn't surprised to be asked about Keane yesterday, believing that the Corkman's appointment as Ireland assistant has put him back on the map and therefore makes it inevitable that he will figure in discussion about the summer managerial merry-go-round.

O'Neill is relaxed about persistent questions around Keane's status, and doesn't consider it to be a distraction from Ireland's Euro 2016 mission.

"Since he has come in, there have been a number of things which he has been linked to," said O'Neill.

"And I wouldn't be surprised if his name is linked with a number of things. It started off with him as assistant manager to Louis van Gaal – and that hasn't materialised.

"If something does materialise, we'll have a conversation and I'm sure he would tell me first of all what might be happening if that was the case. And then I would have a discussion with him and I would hope that if it was something so extraordinary that you would seriously have to think about it, I could understand that.

"But that has not happened and generally speaking, he's pretty well committed to here.

"If Roy's name is linked with that particular job it's because he has an affinity with Celtic too, having stepped out of Manchester United, I know at the end of his career, to play at Celtic, when he had an opportunity, I believe, to play in Spain.

"And he turned that down to go to Celtic. So I'm sure his name will be linked with it but if you tell me that they have stopped taking bets on Henrik Larsson, then maybe it's done.

"Henrik would be a great fit for manager, he's a very intelligent boy, he knows the game inside out and was a brilliant player for me. I really can't speak highly enough of him. "

O'Neill could understand Lennon's desire for a new challenge, and another former Celt, Aiden McGeady, had heard on the grapevine that his old boss was possibly going to move on. He thinks the Armagh man can be a hit down south.

"He did great things with Celtic, won a lot of trophies, brought through a lot of players as well and bought players for small sums of money and sold them on for a lot so he did well for the club and I don't think anyone could really argue with him going at the moment," said McGeady.

"He obviously must have something lined up."

Irish Independent

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