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Page last updated at 15:16 GMT, Friday, 9 April 2010 16:16 UK

Celtic coach Neil Lennon 'begging' Keane to stay

Robbie Keane was the player of the round in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals
Keane hit a hat-trick in the previous round of the Scottish Cup

Celtic interim boss Neil Lennon will pester Robbie Keane every day for the rest of the season about staying on beyond the end of his loan spell.

The Tottenham forward has scored 12 goals in 12 games since his January switch to Celtic Park.

"I'm not giving up on him staying," Lennon revealed.

"It will ultimately be Robbie's decision but I will be begging him every day from here on in to stay at the club if he can."

With Keane earning a huge salary, Spurs boss Harry Redknapp recently said that there was no chance that the Irishman would continue in Glasgow.

And ahead of Saturday's Scottish Cup semi-final against Ross County at Hampden, Keane, not for the first time, skirted around the issue, saying: "From day one I've said that I don't want to speak about it until the end of the season."

Lennon still hoping Keane stays

However, Lennon, who is hoping to land the manager's job on a permanent basis, would love to continue working with Keane next season.

"We need that calibre of player at a club like this, we need a 25-30 goals-a-season player if we can go out and get them," he said.

"He is world class. His pedigree, calibre and his record speaks for itself.

"He's a very intelligent footballer, he has a cool head under pressure and is a good finisher, and he has that touch of charisma that all the good players have.

"He can stand up against anyone in Britain and parts of Europe as well and he's been a huge player for us in the short time he has been here."

Lennon's future will be decided at the end of the campaign and he admits defeat against County would damage his chances of remaining in the dugout beyond the summer.

Asked about the implications of what would be a shock defeat, the former Celtic captain said: "It would diminish my opportunity.

Pitches let Scotland down - Keane

"It won't all hinge on the one game but ultimately I would be disappointed if we didn't go through and I would certainly have a look at myself and ask the questions as to why.

"But I am trying to be as positive as possible and I think we have a decent enough chance of going through.

"It's a huge game for us in terms of our season.

"We are two games away from winning a bit of silverware and winning would give the players an incentive for the rest of the season.

"We are on a hiding to nothing really but that's what it is here most weeks.

"If we win we are expected to win and if we lose it's a disaster.

"But it's a challenge and I enjoy the challenge. I think I have got a good chance (of getting the job).

"But no matter what happens I will view it as a positive experience.

"I am relishing it and whether it goes wrong or doesn't go wrong I will put the experience to good use the next time, wherever that will be."

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see also
Celtic 0-2 Ross County
10 Apr 10 |  Scottish Cups
County to attack Celtic in semis
05 Apr 10 |  Ross County
Smith applauds Celtic over Keane
02 Feb 10 |  Rangers
Celtic secure Spurs striker Keane
01 Feb 10 |  Celtic

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