Celtic: Martin O'Neill relaxed over Roy Keane job link

Roy Keane and Martin O'Neill

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill says he would not stand in the way of assistant Roy Keane if he had an offer from Celtic or any other club.

The 42-year-old has already been quizzed by the media about the possibility of succeeding Neil Lennon at the Scottish champions.

"Naturally, having brought him in, I'd be disappointed if it went through that he's gone," said O'Neill.

"But I wouldn't really be standing in his way in that sense."

Since ending his playing career at Celtic, Keane has had management experience with Sunderland and Ipswich Town.

The 42-year-old has already distanced himself from the position vacated this week by Lennon, but has not ruled out a return to Glasgow.

O'Neill said: "I would say that he would make a good manager, I have always said this about Roy Keane. I think the experiences he has had at Sunderland and Ipswich will stand him in good stead.

"He has this opportunity to come with me as my assistant here at this moment, but I have often said to you that he will be a manager."

Dermot Desmond
Celtic owner Desmond helped bring O'Neill and Keane together with Ireland

It was Celtic owner Dermot Desmond who helped broker the deal that established the partnership between former Celtic boss O'Neill and Keane as the Football Association of Ireland looked for a replacement for Giovanni Trapattoni.

Some eyebrows were raised when Keane accepted the post having previously managed in his own right at both the Stadium of Light and Portman Road.

"When I took him on in the first place, I can't say I had really thought that particular element of it through," admitted O'Neill.

"I think this particular element - it's just my view - is good for him. It gives him a chance to look at it, maybe work with somebody with a bit of experience like myself.

"He was linked also as assistant to Louis Van Gaal at Manchester United - he is being linked everywhere. But he will become a manager, there's no question about it."

Henrik Larsson was quickly installed as favourite for the Celtic job before his odds slipped with the bookmakers after his present club, Falkenberg, said the former Hoops striker had rejected an offer from an unnamed club.

"When we were doing a press conference, Henrik Larsson was nailed on for it and then suddenly he was nailed off again, so I don't know how serious it is at all," O'Neill said of Keane being linked with the job. "If it arrives, then I'll deal with it, if that's the case."

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