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Roy Keane favourite to succeed Neil Lennon as Celtic boss

By Daniel McDonnell

Roy Keane was last night installed as the clear favourite to take over as manager of Celtic after a flurry of bets on the Ireland assistant manager.

The Corkman had been floated as a potential replacement for Neil Lennon, who resigned last week, but the story was dismissed by the FAI who are confident of keeping their man.

Keane said last week there had been no contact from his former club and was tired of the persistent speculation.

However, bookmakers have reported strong interest in the 42-year-old in the Celtic market, thus resulting in his price dropping from a 16/1 outsider to evens favourite in the space of a few hours.

Ireland boss Martin O'Neill has said that he would not stand in Keane's way if an offer materialised.

Henrik Larsson, the early bookies' favourite for the role, duly ruled himself out of the running, with former Cardiff boss Malky Mackay and one-time Irish international Owen Coyle also part of the discussion.

Celtic chief Peter Lawwell has said that the SPL champions will take their time before making a decision on the next course of action.

The Ireland players had a day off yesterday ahead of Saturday's friendly with Italy in London and played a round of golf in Headfort, Co Meath.

Keane was back at work next to O'Neill last night, however, watching the European Championship elite qualifier between Paul Doolin's Ireland U-19 side and their Icelandic rivals in Tallaght Stadium.

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