Celtic first-team coach’s departure confirmed

Darren O’Dea and Stephen McManus in frame to replace Damien Duff

Damien Duff, left, is leaving Celtic for a new role with Republic of Ireland. Picture: Bill Murray / SNS

Celtic coaches Darren O’Dea and Stephen McManus are understood to be the main contenders for the vacant role of first-team coach that will be created by the departure of Damien Duff.

Neil Lennon has confirmed that former Blackburn, Chelsea, Newcastle and Fulham winger Duff will leave the Scottish champions at the end of next month after landing the role of assistant manager to Stephen Kenny in the Republic of Ireland set-up.

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The Celtic manager has said they will look at appointing a replacement from within, with under-18 manager O’Dea and reserve team coach McManus believed to be in the frame.

“I spoke to him on Monday and he was in good spirits but he’ll join the FAI,” said Lennon of Duff, who joined Celtic in January 2019. “It’s a blow because he contributed immensely and I got on great with him.

“He’s at home in Ireland but his contract doesn’t run out until the end of June so if we come back on the 10th we might have him until the end of the month which might buy us time to look to bring someone in or promote from within.

“He’s still in his formative years as a coach but he made a huge contribution and there was a real good chemistry there so he’ll be difficult to replace, that’s for sure.

“We were waiting on everything getting called first and then we’ll look to replace him but it’s not at the forefront of our minds as we’ll have plenty of time to see what we’ll do.”

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