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Brendan Rodgers leading the race to seize Celtic job

By Stuart McKinley

Brendan Rodgers has become the frontrunner as Celtic step up their search for a new manager.

The Northern Ireland-born former Liverpool boss has jumped to the top of the Scottish giants’ list of candidates after holding talks with Parkhead chiefs, who are eager to make a quick appointment following the departure of Ronny Deila.

Rodgers, who has been out of work since being sacked by Liverpool last October, gave a strong suggestion of his interest in the Celtic job last month, after it was announced that Deila would step down at the end of the season, saying it was “an opportunity for someone to go to a great club.”

The Celtic hierarchy will, however, work down that list to ensure that they appoint the best possible candidate for the job.

It is understood that Celtic have also held talks with former Cardiff City and Watford manager Malky McKay, who spent five years at the club as a player.

The Belfast Telegraph revealed last month that three Ulstermen were in the frame for the post.

As well as Rodgers, Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill has his admirers at Celtic Park after leading his country to the Euro 2016 finals.

Former Hoops boss Neil Lennon has also expressed an interest in returning to the club, where he spent almost 14 years as player and manager.

With Celtic in Champions League action in less than two months' time, the club are keen to get the right man in place as soon as possible.

Rodgers recently said of Celtic: "It's an incredible club, a club that family and everyone support. Obviously the league isn't so competitive but Celtic are one of the great iconic clubs in the world, a huge club."

Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane, who finished his career with Celtic, is also understood to be in the running for the manager's job, two years after turning it down before Deila was appointed.

Keane said that the prospect of managing Celtic was the 'right job at the wrong time' for him.

Paul Lambert's odds on being given the Parkhead manager's job were slashed when he announced that he would be leaving his post in charge of Blackburn Rovers at the end of the season and he remains a contender.

David Moyes is in the mix too, but the former Everton and Manchester United boss could continue to bide his time in the hope of landing another job in the Premier League.

Rodgers has stated that he "certainly" wants to get back to work in the summer and he had also been linked with a return to former club Swansea before they stood by Francesco Guidolin.

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