Hartley believes Man Utd icon would accept Celtic managerial gig

By David Walton

March 2, 2021

Paul Hartley believes that Man Utd legend Roy Keane would accept the opportunity to be the new Celtic manager.

Keane has been a name widely linked with the managerial role at Parkhead for years. He was openly offered the job in 2014 before the club’s appointment of Ronny Deila. However, Keane would later criticise the offer made by Dermot Desmond [BBC].

Since then, however, his stock has failed to grow in the managerial game. Despite qualifying Ireland for Euro 2016 as Martin O’Neill’s assistant, they would fail to do the same for the 2018 World Cup before being sacked. Keane has had two assistant manager roles with Aston Villa and Notts Forest, but hasn’t been a manager since being sacked by Ipswich 10 years ago.

Nowadays, he’s best known for his work on Sky Sports during English Premier League matches. But Hartley believes the Irish legend would tackle the Parkhead job if it came up again.

Speaking on the Celtic Huddle Podcast today, Hartley said: “Would Roy Keane be the next manager? He’s very passionate and he doesn’t suffer any fools. I think football’s changed, in terms of managers being in players’ faces all the time. It didn’t bother me when I played.

“But I think football’s changed, players have changed. I don’t think they like that as much now. Will Roy Keane be the next Celtic manager? Who knows, there’s a possibility. But players are different now.”

“If Roy Keane was offered it, though, I think he would take it.”

Man Utd legend Keane undoubtedly box-office, but Celtic fans will want something else

There’s no denying the sheer commercial potential with Keane in charge. Celtic would likely be looking for a similar reputational effect Rangers received from elsewhere in the UK after Steven Gerrard’s appointment.

Keane has, after all, won 20 competitive major trophies throughout his career as a player. 17 of them came at Manchester United too. He’s an icon at Old Trafford, and that in itself would bring extra eyes onto a Celtic team under him.

But let’s strip things back. Keane managed promotion with Sunderland in 2007. That’s been the highlight of his managerial career. He managed to keep them in the Premier League too, but his no-nonsense approach to discipline was interesting. When three of his players were late for a trip to Barnsley in 2007, he simply left them behind [The Guardian].

Roy Keane, upon signing for Celtic / (Photo by Alan Peebles/Getty Images)

After his resignation, the Sunderland players were reported to have celebrated. One source quoted by the Telegraph stated that he “ruled by fear”. Given Keane hasn’t been in a managerial job for a decade, his zero-tolerance approach would be a concern in the modern-day game.

If he wasn’t such a decorated figure, you also have to wonder whether he would even be considered. If you look at his managerial career alone, it’s difficult to make an argument for it. Keane simply wouldn’t be anywhere near the Parkhead gig.

Yes he would be box office. Yes he would get the fans right behind him and the football club. But is he what we need right now? It’s difficult to see how he can be.

In other news, a Celtic loan Bhoy was central to his club’s post-match celebrations over the weekend.