ROY Keane is understood to have been offered the Celtic manager’s job and is expected to inform the club in the next couple of days whether or not he will accept the role.
The timescale contains a natural cut-off point for the Republic of Ireland assistant manager, with Martin O’Neill’s team heading out to the United States for friendlies against Costa Rica and Portugal on Wednesday.
The Republic played Italy at Craven Cottage last night but the fixture was overshadowed by O’Neill’s admission in midweek that Celtic majority shareholder Dermot Desmond had an “informal chat” over the vacancy created by Neil Lennon’s decision to leave Parkhead.
Then on Friday, O’Neill hinted at the firming up of Desmond’s pursuit of Keane. Celtic’s largest shareholder and the former Manchester United midfielder have been described as friends and their relationship was considered central to the 42-year-old returning to football with his national team last December, two years on from the sacking that ended an unproductive 21-month spell in charge of Ipswich Town.
“I would imagine that, in the next few days, the situation will resolve itself,” said O’Neill, in his pre-match press conference “Whether it goes into Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday... we are not actually leaving until Wednesday, so I would imagine the situation would be sorted by then.
“Celtic are actively seeking a manager and they have a certain number of days to try and do something, because they will want a man in place for when they come back for pre-season [in late June].
“There’s nothing definite yet, but I can imagine that before we travel to America something will have happened. He still has to be asked about the job. We would all be very, very sorry to see him go if, indeed, he does.”
Keane played for Celtic in the second half of season 2005-06, helping the Parkhead club win the league championship and League Cup under Gordon Strachan. His first steps in management were at Sunderland, whom he guided to the Championship title the following season after taking over when they were bottom of the table.