Keane puts his faith in Lennon to revive Celtic

Striker believes interim manager can thrive at Parkhead if he is given chance to learn on the job
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The Independent Football

Robbie Keane has given his backing to Neil Lennon as the latter seeks to claim the vacant manager's job at Celtic. The Republic of Ireland striker, who played under caretaker Lennon during his loan spell at Parkhead last season, believes the 38-year-old is the man to revive the club's fortunes.

Keane said: "I am sure from Neil's point of view, he would like it to happen, and I am hoping he does get the job because I was very, very impressed with what he had to offer and what he did on the pitch with the lads.

"He is very passionate about Celtic, there's no question about that. He loves the club and I am sure if anyone can turn the club around and get them back to where they were a few years ago, Neil can do that."

The Hoops have been linked with a series of more experienced men in recent weeks, although popular opinion seems to be firmly on Lennon's side, and Keane is hoping he gets his chance.

"People keep talking about that, but then you look at someone like [Barcelona manager] Pep Guardiola in the same situation as Neil and what he has gone on to achieve," Keane said. "He is only going to get experience if he gets the job and gets games under his belt. He can only do what he did at the end of the season and win games for Celtic."

Craig Brown yesterday disclosed that agents have approached him offering to attempt to negotiate a move to Celtic. The Motherwell manager, though, quickly dismissed suggestions he could act as a mentor for Lennon, who was installed as an interim boss following the departure of Tony Mowbray.

Brown, 69, who enjoyed a successful campaign at Fir Park and led Motherwell to a Europa League spot, has had no talks with the Celtic hierarch, but did admit that he'd had "a couple of agents phoning to ask if they would like to represent me and put my case to the club. I said no to them".

Republic of Ireland national team manager Giovanni Trapattoni has also been linked with a move to Celtic, with a view to working with the management team.

Meanwhile, Nacho Novo says he left Rangers for Sporting Gijon because he was fed up of being on the bench all the time.

Novo, 31, returned to his native Spain last week after six years at Ibrox when his contract with the Glasgow club expired. "I felt angry when I was always a substitute and I felt sick about being left out of big games. I just couldn't face another season as a sub at my age," the striker admitted.

"I feel I'm better than that after six incredible years at Rangers. I'm heartbroken at leaving and I've been feeling very emotional over the last few weeks."

Novo, who was a favourite with the supporters, revealed that he was in tears before Rangers' final Premier League game of the season against Motherwell.

"After we were presented with the SPL trophy at Ibrox, I started crying on the pitch. What people don't know is I was actually crying before the game when I found out I was to be sub again.

"I had a feeling it would be my last game at Ibrox and I really hoped the gaffer would play me from the start this time. I just couldn't take being left out any more and that's why I have to move on."

There are also doubts over the future of Rangers' manager Walter Smith, who, along with his backroom staff, has been working without a contract since January.