Neil Lennon must be named Celtic manager immediately, according to Hoops' legend Frank McGarvey.
A host of names including Craig Levein, Alan Pardew and Ronald Koeman have been linked with the post since Tony Mowbray departed in March following a calamitous 4-0 defeat at St Mirren which ended any realistic hopes of winning the Clydesdale Bank Premier League title back from their Old Firm rivals, Rangers.
Lennon was installed on an interim basis and he strengthened his case with a 2-1 win over the Gers at Parkhead on Tuesday night which extended his winning run in the SPL to seven games.
The Irishman has been told he will be informed of his future at the end of the season but McGarvey, who played for Celtic between 1980 and 1985, urged the Parkhead board to end the speculation by naming Lennon as boss.
While McGarvey believes the Ulsterman has the necessary credentials, he does also feel the Hoops are left with few options but to give Lennon the job,
“Celtic must appoint Lennon as manager right away,” McGarvey said. “They have won their last seven SPL games and it is all down to him. He has shown that he could be the exception to the rule in succeeding at a big club in his first management role.
“People say he has no experience as manager but he has experience at being at Celtic, playing and living in the Old Firm environment, which means a lot.
“Let's face it, you are not going to get big-name managers coming up from England to take the job.
“Even Scots who are managing down south are not interested.
“So Lennon is probably as well qualified as anyone in Scotland to do the Celtic job.”
McGarvey added: “He inherited a club in crisis and has brought a smile back to the faces of the Celtic support who were singing his name during the Rangers game.
“Like many Celtic fans, I believe Celtic would not have beaten Rangers on Tuesday night if Mowbray had still been in charge.
“It wasn't down to luck, it was down to Neil Lennon. The players respect him, they are battling for him so Celtic should give him the job immediately and let him start preparing for the Champions League campaign which is just round the corner.”
Lennon is hoping the win over Rangers will go some way to helping Celtic fans get over what has been a disastrous season for the Parkhead club.
He said: “It was a great night in terms of the team has salvaged a little bit of something.
“I don't know how much that will eat in to the supporters' feelings about the way the season has gone but at least we came away with an Old Firm victory which we haven't done for 18 months.
“It was immensely satisfying for the players as well.”