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old firm Ireland legend calls on Celtic to hand Roy Keane the chance to lock horns with Steven Gerrard

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Appointing Roy Keane as Celtic boss would be a gamble

Appointing Roy Keane as Celtic boss would be a gamble

Appointing Roy Keane as Celtic boss would be a gamble

Roy Keane is emerging as a leading contender to take over as Celtic manager and now he has received high profile backing in his pursuit of the top job at Parkhead.

Reports in the UK suggest Keane has let it be known he is eager to succeed Neil Lennon as Celtic manager, as he looks to revive a management career that has stalled for more than a decade following his exit as Ipswich Town boss.

Now Sunday World columnist Paul McGrath has insisted Keane is the perfect man to rattle some cages at Celtic, after a season that has seen them dethroned as Scottish Premiership champions by arch-rivals Rangers.

After Red Bull Salzburg coach Jesse Marsch ended speculation linking him to the Celtic job in recent days, the names on the list of candidates to take over appears to be dwindling.

And having turned down the chance to take over at Celtic in 2015, Keane's clearly has supporters in the corridors of power at Parkhead.

Now McGrath has given his high-profile backing to Keane, as he gave the Sunday World a very different view on a 49-year-old grandfather who has become something of a caricature of himself in his role as a confrontational TV pundit on Sky Sports.

Genuine

"The Roy Keane I know and like is not the man so many people believe him to be," McGrath told us.

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Paul McGrath reckons Keane could work.

Paul McGrath reckons Keane could work.

Paul McGrath reckons Keane could work.

"I have always got on great with Roy. He is a funny guy, a genuine person and has always been great company as a team-mate and in the years since we both stopped playing.

"I think the Roy Keane we see on Sky Sports is very much a guy who has created a TV identity and he lives up to it with his comments, but don't kid yourself and think Roy is like that all the time.

"If Roy gets the Celtic job, he would go into the club and shake a few things up, which is what they need given what we have seen with that team this year.

"But I also feel he will have learned from what has happened in his management career so far, as shouting and screaming at modern day players just doesn't work.

"He would be a good fit for Celtic. Seeing him competing with Steven Gerrard at Rangers would have us all watching Old Firm matches next season and I hope he gets the job.

"If he is allowed to get the right players in at a club he clearly loves, I'm sure the Celtic fans would warm to having him as their manager."

If news comes through in the next couple of weeks confirming Keane will be the next Celtic boss, a shiver of anticipation will ripple through all football lovers.

Yet sadly for Keane, that anticipation would be heavily laced with trepidation.

The prospect of Keane going toe-to-toe with Gerrard in Old Firm matches would be mouth-watering, yet the former Manchester United and Ireland captain has enough baggage in his background to fill several suitcases.

Keane's firebrand reputation served him well as a player, with the intimidation factor he thrust upon opponents and referees adding to his aura as a winner.

However, translating that passion and drive in his management career has been a challenge, with his initial success at Sunderland paving the way for an acrimonious exit, before a tortured stint in charge at Ipswich.

That no chairman has dared to give him a management job more than a decade since says much about his reputation within the game, with former Celtic boss John Barnes among those questioning the prospect of Keane's appointment.

"If Roy Keane went to Celtic and managed the way he pundits, he won't succeed," said Barnes, who had a failed spell as Celtic manager at the turn of this century.

"He's intelligent enough to know that he'd have to change his style from what we see in the TV studio.

"Twenty, thirty years ago, his style would have worked, shouting and abusing players, but that doesn't work with modern players anymore, he would struggle with this approach and lose the dressing room.

"However, Roy Keane's a clever person, so he would likely change his approach if he went in as manager.

"Success will depend on Roy Keane and how he approaches the job and whether he is given enough backing by the board."

Former Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder is the bookies favourite to take over, with caretaker boss John Kennedy also a contender.

Yet if the Celtic board want to fight fire with fire and appoint a football heavyweight to compete with Gerrard and Rangers, Keane may appeal.

His back catalogue of sporting crimes and misdemeanors suggests his appointment would be doomed to failure, yet we would all like to watch the fun watching the soap opera he guarantees unfold.

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