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Wednesday 20 September 2017

Keane top target if Lennon gets job

Neil Lennon will make Robbie Keane his top transfer target IF he gets the Celtic job.

Stand-in boss Lennon expects to find out next week whether he'll be given the job on a permanent basis after taking temporary charge following the sacking of Tony Mowbray. Tuesday's 2-1 win over Rangers was Celtic's seventh win on the bounce and Lennon is the fans' choice to get the job permanently.

Keane's goals have played a crucial part in that run and Lennon is convinced that the on-loan Spurs striker could return to Celtic next season.

Lennon said: "I think the club could afford him but it will be his instinct more than anything that decides whether he stays. We would have to seriously think about the transfer fee and wages involved. That will be Dermot's (Desmond) call."

Lennon added: "We might have struggled to finish second if it hadn't been for Robbie's contribution in terms of goals.

"He is a world-class, a level-headed player who has scored 15 goals in 16 to 17 games here, so his record speaks for itself. He's not acted like a prima-donna.

"Whenever he's been asked to train, he's trained like a demon. Robbie's the No7 and he befits the jersey. I haven't given up hope at all in him staying."

It's unlikely that Celtic could afford a transfer fee for Keane but a season long loan has been suggested. Spurs boss Harry Redknapp has also been linked with moves for Aiden McGeady and Scott Brown, which could open the door for a deal that also involves Keane.

Darren O'Dea, meanwhile, is determined to carry the feel-good factor of beating Rangers into tomorrow's final SPL match away to Hearts.

Tuesday's win has lifted some of the clouds that have been hanging over Parkhead after a trophyless season that led to Tony Mowbray's sacking.

After experiencing mixed fortunes on-loan at Reading in the first half of the season, O'Dea has played in Celtic's last 12 matches and is looking to finish a troubled season on a high.

He said: "The team has confidence from winning on Tuesday and we'll carry that into the Hearts match. Tynecastle is a tough ground, you never go there and get an easy game.

"Hopefully we can finish with eight wins in a row and that will set us up for next season. We're expecting to win the league back next season."

Winning the Old Firm match against Rangers has given added momentum to the campaign to get Lennon installed as permanent manager. The former Celtic skipper has transformed the atmosphere around the club and has the 100pc backing of the dressing room.

Lennon's first move as caretaker manager was to bring in Johan Mjallby as his assistant, with the Swede making a big impression on the players.

Lennon and Mjallby enjoyed great success playing together under Martin O'Neill and O'Dea is delighted to be benefiting from that experience.

The defender said: "The whole club has been lifted since Johan and Lenny came in.

"We're only a confident team because we've been winning games.

"We had won six on the bounce in the league before the Rangers match. Lenny and Johan can take as much credit as anyone for winning those games. They know exactly what it's about and what you need to do."

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