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Page last updated at 16:15 GMT, Monday, 24 May 2010 17:15 UK

Neil Lennon can revive Celtic says Robbie Keane

Neil Lennon and Robbie Keane
Lennon and Keane developed a mutual admiration at Celtic Park

Robbie Keane has thanked Celtic for giving him back his desire for football and suggested that Neil Lennon is the man to revive the club's fortunes.

Keane confirmed that he will be returning to Tottenham Hotspur after his loan spell with the Glasgow club.

"I've done well there and got back the hunger that I had before," said the 29-year-old striker.

"If anyone can turn the club around and get them back to where they were a few years ago, I am sure Neil can do that."

Lennon became interim manager in March after Tony Mowbray was sacked while Celtic slipped behind eventual Scottish champions Rangers.

The team ended the season unbeaten in the league under his charge, although they slumped to a surprise defeat by Division One side Ross County in their Scottish Cup semi-final.

Speculation continues to grow about the contenders for the post without any sign of a successor being named and bookmakers' odds have shortened on the former reserve team manager being handed the reigns on a full-time basis.

If you ask any of the lads, any of the supporters as well, they certainly want Neil to get the job

Tottenham striker Robbie Keane

Indeed, the club on Saturday announced a series of question and answer sessions "throughout the summer" - starting at Celtic Park on Thursday - when Lennon and chief executive Peter Lawwell will meet the fans.

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

"Obviously, he is very passionate about Celtic. He loves the club."

It would be Lennon's first manager's job, but Keane disagrees with those who think the 38-year-old is too inexperienced to take a job the size of the one with Scotland's two major clubs.

The Republic of Ireland international pointed to the example of Pep Guardiola, who led Barcelona to their domestic league and cup double and won the Champions League final in his first season with the Spanish club.

"If you look at someone like Guardiola in the same situation as Neil and obviously what he has gone on to achieve now," he said.

"He can only do what he did at the end of the season and win games for Celtic and he certainly did that, obviously apart from the semi-final.

"In league games, I think he won eight in a row. If you ask any of the lads, any of the supporters as well, they certainly want Neil to get the job."


Lennon had hoped that Celtic might be able to retain the services of Keane, who scored 16 goals in 19 games for Celtic.

But, as he has indicated previously, Keane said: "I've got a three-year contract left, so I will report back for pre-season training on 5 July with Tottenham.

"Unless people tell me different, I am a Tottenham player."

Keane insisted he had not looked on with anything other than pleasure as Tottenham finished the season by qualifying for the Champions League.

"I've got a big association with Tottenham and always will until the day I finish playing football," he said.

"I was delighted that the lads did well and equally I enjoyed my time at Celtic.

"As a player, you lose confidence at times. It is important that you try and that back as soon as possible and maybe going to Celtic was the best thing that happened to me."

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see also
O'Neill hails job done by Lennon
21 May 10 |  Celtic
McStay backing Lennon for Celtic
20 May 10 |  Celtic
Celtic suffer Europe seeding blow
18 May 10 |  Celtic
Celtic say sorry for poor season
16 May 10 |  Celtic
Lennon wants big-money signings
01 May 10 |  Celtic

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